Eden Prairie criminal defense attorney Martin Azarian talks about why you should hire a lawyer if arrested for DWI.
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Oh, absolutely, absolutely, there are a number of issues in every DWI case that I think a client needs to explore with his attorney and his attorney can, obviously, help him with that. The first thing you want to look at with respect to the DWI is why was the officer involved in the case in the first place? In other words, why did the officer stop the driver that’s the first issue? And that deals with reasonable suspicion. Was there an articulable reason for stopping a particular vehicle?
Number two; was there actually probable cause to place the person under arrest? What evidence did the officer have to actually arrest the driver?
The next step is to determine was any testing done at the station was it done within two hours of the stop because if it wasn’t done within two hours, the test result would not be admissible in court. But before any test is given the police have to read what’s called the Minnesota Implied Consent Advisory and that’s a rather complicated document and it comes right out of the statute that tells the driver that that driver has a right before taking a test to speak with an attorney. It also advises the driver that if you refuse to take the test that could be charged out as a much more serious crime than a first time DWI defendant.
If the officer doesn’t tell the driver with respect to what could happen if he refuses or doesn’t tell the driver you have a right to contact a lawyer, and by the way, if you do want to contact a lawyer, we’ll give you a phone book, and we’ll give you a phone and you can take your time. You have a reasonable amount of time to contact an attorney. If the officer doesn’t say those things to the driver then that may be a basis to have the test result thrown out.
So those are just four or five areas that a good criminal defense lawyer would want to explore. Also, did the police officer say anything to encourage the person perhaps to actually take the test that might have been a violation of the law or did the officer actually say anything to encourage the driver not to take the test. Did the officer give confusing advice with respect to taking the test or not taking the test? Those are all defenses as well.
The other thing, too, you want to look at is in many instance the police have a camera in their car it’s called the dashcam and that camera generally records the stop but even before that, the driving conduct of the driver. And sometimes what the police will indicate in the report is different than what the camera actually sees. And if it’s clear that the driver was actually obeying the speed limit, if the driver was actually obeying, the rules of the road then the stop might have been bad, and if the stop is bad, any evidence obtained thereafter would have to be thrown out. In other words, the case could be dismissed.
Now, even if there aren’t any defenses there are ways to reduce the amount of time a person would lose their ability to drive an automobile, In other words, to be validly licensed. In some instances, the police tell the driver your privilege to drive is going to be revoked for 90 days or possibly even a year. In some instances, those revocation periods could actually be reduced to as little as 30 days and perhaps as little as 90 days respectively. So those are things that we would want to explore if you would retain a good criminal defense attorney.