The Minnesota State Court of Appeals ruled last week that a Roseville man’s DWI arrest was invalid, even though his voluntary urine test was positive for being over the legal limit. This unusual case gets to the heart of the constitution and emphasizes the importance of having an experienced DWI attorney to protect your rights.
An Anonymous Informant
The basis for this case involves an anonymous informant that observed the defendant driving a tractor-trailer pulling round bales of hay on Highway 169. According to the tipster, the defendant was traveling north in the southbound lane. An officer went to investigate, but did not observe any misconduct. The driver was traveling south in the south-bound lane when the officer arrived, but was pulled over anyway. The defendant spoke with an attorney and agreed to a urine test. It was positive for an amount of alcohol over the state limit, and the driver was arrested. Even though the Minnesota district court upheld the arrest, the State Court of Appeals reversed the decision last week.
Reversal Protects Rights
Why did the Court of Appeals reverse the arrest? The bottom line is that the officer did not have the right to pull the driver over. The anonymous caller did not leave any identifying information and the officer did not observe any illegal activity. There is no way to locate the tipster to hold him or her accountable for their version of events. The police were unable to verify that the caller did not provide false information. The court ruled “that officers lacked reasonable articulable suspicion to stop appellant’s vehicle” and that the tip “was insufficient to create a reasonable, articulable suspicion of criminal activity.” The arrest and all evidence were thrown out.
Just as an officer cannot search a person’s home without cause, officers cannot pull a vehicle over without credible suspicion of criminal activity. This basic right is a fundamental part of our constitution. No doubt this process was long and arduous for the defendant. However, it illustrates the importance of having an experienced and patient advocate on your side. To ensure your rights are protected, trust Grostyan & Associates, PLC with your defense. Contact us for a free consultation.