Minnesota DWI Cases & Post-McNeely Warrantless Searches: A Roadmap to Sanity

Posted On May 23, 2013 by Daniel Koewler

In the wake of Missouri v. McNeely, prosecutors, defense attorneys, and judges are all being forced to take a very careful look at the Fourth Amendment, and the new life that the U.S. Supreme Court recently breathed into the constitutionality of DWI cases.

We recognized immediately how far reaching the impact of the McNeely case would be, particularly in Minnesota, and have been continually surprised by the amount of prosecutors (and even defense attorneys) who don't seem to understand how the Fourth Amendment works.

To try and simplify things, we've created a handy flow chart as a teaching tool. Flow charts are a time-honored method used by law students around the country who are trying to understand even the simplest legal concepts. They lay out a simple roadmap to follow and can help "visual learners" grasp concepts that aren't always easy to pick up from just reading dense case law.

Obviously, this chart simplifies things to a degree (a surprisingly small degree) and is more of a "cheat sheet" for those with knowledge of the law, best used to remind them of just how fundamentally basic it is to apply the Fourth Amendment to a DWI search. We'll discuss each step of the process in upcoming blogs.

But without further ado, here's the chart (click this link for the simplified version). This chart should make it easier to see exactly how much of an impact the McNeely decision has in Minnesota, and how difficult it will be for prosecutors to introduce any test results in pending and future DWI cases. Feel free to print it out!