The right of an accused to consult with an attorney is deeply imbedded in the United States and Minnesota Constitutions. At every critical stage of a criminal proceeding, any person charged with a crime has the right to speak to an attorney for advice and guidance. An accused has the right to contact an attorney even after being arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). Calling the right lawyer at this critical stage in the proceedings may make the difference in your case. Minneapolis, Minnesota’s top-rated defense attorney, Doug Kans, is the attorney you should call for advice and guidance at this crucial stage.
As mentioned above, Article 1, Section 6 of Minnesota’s Constitution assures every person accused of a crime has the right to consult an attorney. In the context of a DWI arrest, the right to consult counsel is triggered when the accused is asked, under Minnesota’s implied-consent law, to submit to a chemical test after being placed under arrest. The person under arrest has the “limited” right to consult an attorney about their right to refuse to take a chemical test. The arrestee’s rights are “vindicated” when the officers provide a telephone and a reasonable amount of time to consult an attorney. Furthermore, Minnesota Statutes §169.51, subd. 2(a)(4) restricts the right to counsel so that the accused cannot “unreasonably delay” chemical testing. The driver may be asked to make the decision about chemical testing without prior consultation of an attorney to prevent unreasonable delay. Failure of the police to vindicate this valuable right will result in the suppression of evidence obtained after the police violated the accused’s right to counsel.
Minnesota courts use a “totality of the circumstances” analysis to determine whether an arrestee’s rights have been vindicated. Courts are concerned with the manner in which the police advised the accused pursuant to the implied-consent law and the whether the accused had a reasonable opportunity to contact an attorney. Factors a court will consider in analyzing the situation are whether the accused made a “good-faith and sincere” effort to speak to an attorney, the time of day, and the length of time the accused had been under arrest when the “consultation time” ended.
What is reasonable will depend upon the facts of each case. For instance, a driver should be given a greater opportunity to contact an attorney if the arrest is made in the early-morning hours. The court can rule the driver’s rights were not vindicated if the police give the arrestee insufficient time to call. The driver, however, must use the opportunity to contact an attorney wisely. The court will consider how many calls the accused has made and to whom. In a recent unpublished decision, the Minnesota Appeals Court ruled that a period of only 21 minutes was reasonable when the driver made no effort to contact anyone. The Appeals Court has also found that a driver’s rights have been vindicated when the accused twice contacted an attorney to consult about taking chemical tests but was prevented from contacting the attorney a third time when the officer was forced to re-take a blood test. Additionally, a person’s right to consult counsel has been vindicated when the arrestee refused to contact another attorney when the accused cannot consult the attorney they wanted.
You Have the Chance to Call, So Make the Right One
Why is consulting an attorney regarding your decision critical to your case? The right attorney will patiently and thoroughly explain your rights and obligations and can assist you in making important decisions at a time when you might have a hard time thinking clearly. Make sure you vindicate your right to counsel and call Minneapolis’s top-rated DWI attorney today at (952) 835-6314 if you are faced with the critical decision of taking a chemical test.