McNeely: Turning the Tide for DWI

Posted On June 12, 2013 by Daniel Koewler

Since the United States Supreme Court (SCOTUS) released its long-awaited decision in Missouri v. McNeely, Minnesota courts have struggled with how to apply the Fourth Amendment to DWI searches after years of believing that the Constitution's rule that all people have the right, "to be secure in their persons . . . against unreasonable searches and seizures" did not apply to DWI tests.

Some judges have simply carried on as usual, usually by finding that the McNeely decision somehow has no effect in Minnesota (we'll discuss the logic behind these rulings in our upcoming myth-busting blog series). Other judges have taken the cautious course - placing their cases on hold pending further guidance from Minnesota's own Supreme Court on how to deal with this thorny issue.

Some judges, however, see that this issue isn't nearly as "thorny" as it appears, and that McNeely applies to Minnesota DWIs in a very straight forward way (we even constructed a handy flow chart to show just how simple the analysis is).

Here are several examples of judicial orders suppressing DWI test results and/or thoughtfully discussing the implications of the Missouri v. McNeely decision in Minnesota. There are many more out there - we're not going to provide them all, but these orders in particular are insightful and well written, and stand as good examples.

But even these orders only tell half the story - we've resolved numerous cases without even litigating this issue simply on the strength of our arguments.

Sibley County Order

Stearns County Order

Washington County Order

Rice County Order

Congratulations and thanks go out to Sharon Osborn, Max Keller, Richard Swanson and Carson Heefner who provided us with copies of the orders we're sharing here today!