State v. Brooks: Afterthoughts

November 5, 2013

This past weekend I attended a DWI legal conference and as expected, everybody was asking the same questions regarding State v. Brooks, and its impact on DWI law in the State of Minnesota. After having some time to absorb this legal decision and discuss it with colleagues, here are some thoughts.

First, the Minnesota Supreme Court seemingly acknowledges that taking somebody’s blood or urine for purposes of determining whether somebody is under the influence is a “search” that is subject to the warrant requirement imposed by the Constitution. Many, including myself, will interpret this to mean that like blood and urine searches, a person’s breath is subject to the same constitutional requirement. Because the warrant requirement applies, the State must either have a warrant or a legal exception before completing the search.

In determining whether the State has a legal exception to the warrant requirement, the court must look at the “totality of the circumstances” in each individual case. This also applies to the “consent” exception. In Brooks’ case, the Minnesota Supreme Court concluded that under the totality of the circumstances, Brooks consented to the blood and urines searches. Despite being told that his non-compliance with the test would lead to additional criminal charges, the Court nonetheless found his consent valid and paid particular attention to the fact the fact he had contacted an attorney prior to completing each test. In addition, the Court found it important that Brooks expressed to law enforcement what test he was willing to take. He also had a substantial amount of experience with the judicial system. In all, this is an interesting result, to say the least. Despite these factors, Brooks was instructed that if he did not take the test, he would be charged with a crime!

Nonetheless, and moving forward, simply because you “agree” to take a blood, urine, or breath test at the police station, does not necessarily mean that you “consented” to the test. The Court instructs that we have to look at: (1) the nature of the encounter; (2) the kind of person the defendant is; and (3) what and how things were said. In evaluating these factors in Brooks’ case, the Court found he consented. Somebody else’s case might be different.

With respect to the constitutionality of the implied consent statute, the Court finds that the statute is constitutional in Brooks’ case, and stressed the fact that his “consent” was found based on a totality of the circumstances voluntariness of consent, and not the “implied consent” found in Minnesota Statute. There are currently some cases pending at the Minnesota Court of Appeals that may add clarity to this issue. At this point, however, it would seem the criminal refusal statute in Minnesota is in jeopardy.

This article is not intended to be legal advice or create an attorney client relationship. If you charged with driving while impaired (DWI), contact a defense lawyer immediately. Poole Law Office PLLC is a law firm in Duluth, MN that practices in all areas of criminal defense, including drunk driving or DWI. For a free consultation, contact us now by calling 218-461-0247, or complete the contact form located on the right side of the page.

Minnesota Supreme Court Decides Important DWI Case

October 23, 2013

The Minnesota Supreme Court issued a decision today in State v. Brooks, which deals with the admissibility of blood, breath, and urine test result in DWI cases in Minnesota. You can access the entire decision by clicking here.

DWI charges in Duluth after State v. Brooks

For those who want a quick down and dirty without reading the entire 19 page decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court basically ruled that “when, based on the totality of the circumstances, appellant consented to the search, police [do] not need a warrant to search [a defendant’s] blood or urine.”

In addition, the Court struck down Brooks’ argument that the Minnesota Implied Consent Statute is unconstitutional. The Court stated that Brooks’ argument is inconsistent with the U.S. Supreme Court’s discussion of implied consent laws in Missouri v. McNeely, in which the U.S. Supreme Court characterized implied consent laws as “legal tools” states use to enforce drunk driving laws. In addition, the Court stressed that it was not finding that Brooks “impliedly” consented to a search of his urine or blood, but rather that consent was found based off the totality of the circumstances.

Hiring a DWI lawyer in Duluth, MN

As you can see, DWI laws in Minnesota are quite complicated. If you have been charged with driving while impaired or DWI in Duluth, Minnesota, you should contact a DWI lawyer as soon as possible. To schedule a complimentary consultation, contact Poole Law Office PLLC by calling 218-461-0247, or by filling out the contact form on the right side of the screen.

Divorce Process in Duluth, MN: PART ONE

October 16, 2013

Each year, thousands of couples get divorced across the State of Minnesota. Oftentimes, each partner hires their own attorney to represent them throughout the proceeding. Sometimes, only one partner hires a lawyer to simply draft the paperwork. In other instances, neither party will hire a lawyer, and they will attempt to complete the process using pre-printed forms found at the local district courthouse. Regardless of the method, the divorce process in Duluth, MN is generally the same.

Initiating a divorce proceeding in Duluth

The first step to initiating a divorce in Duluth involves the service and filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Generally, service is accomplished by having somebody personally hand the petition to the other party, but there are alternative methods. Next, In order to be able to file a petition for dissolution of marriage, one party must be a resident of the State of Minnesota for at least 180 days. As to where you file the petition, however, you must consider the physical location of each party within the State.

Where to venue a divorce in Minnesota

“Venue” typically refers to the county or courthouse where the divorce proceedings will actually be heard. If you and your spouse both live in the same county, venue will usually be straight forward. If you live in separate counties, however, you may choose the county in which you want your divorce venued. While divorce laws to not change from county to county, the way in which the district court handles and processes cases may be slightly different, and you therefore should speak with a lawyer prior to making this decision.

Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in Duluth

To speak with a divorce lawyer in Duluth, MN today, contact Poole Law Office PLLC at 218-461-0247, or fill out the contact form on the right side of the page. Poole Law Office PLLC is happy to offer a complimentary consultation.

Last Place On Earth Owner Convicted In Federal Court

October 8, 2013

Jim Carlson, owner of Duluth’s local head shop Last Place on Earth, was convicted yesterday in Federal Court on federal charges related to the sale of synthetic drugs, and money laundering. Synthetic drugs include “incense,” “spice” or “bath salts,” and occupy an ambiguous area of the law that is difficult to regulate and control as a result of constantly changing formulas and chemical compositions.

Synthetic Drug Laws in Minnesota

During the course of the federal trial, Jim Carlson openly admitted to selling the substances in question, but his attorney argued that he never did anything illegal. During the trial, testimony was presented from both State and Defense expert witnesses regarding the synthetic substances in question. To learn more about this story, you can find a news report here.

Synthetic Drugs in Duluth, MN

This trial wraps up several years after City Officials in Duluth, MN started stumping over ways to control and regulate the sale and distribution of synthetic drugs in downtown Duluth. In addition to Mr. Carlson’s legal matters, the Duluth Police Department has cited and charged dozens, if not hundreds, of people for using and possessing synthetic drugs in Duluth, MN. You can oftentimes overcome these charges with the assistance of a criminal defense lawyer. I have represented dozens of people being charged with possessing synthetic drugs, and have even succeeded in getting them dismissed for lack of probable cause. Contact my office today to schedule a free consultation if you are being charged with any drug offense.

Police Seeking Suspect in Stabbing at College Fraternity Party

September 30, 2013

Police in Bemidji, Minnesota are looking for a suspect that allegedly stabbed a teenager at a party on property owned by a fraternity. News reports indicate that the victim was stabbed when he attempted to break up a fight between two other males. The victim was taken to a local medical center where he is in stable condition in an intensive care unit. The unknown suspect allegedly stabbed the victim in back. Click here to read the original article.

College Students and Criminal Offenses in Minnesota

It does not a take a study to understand that college and university students frequently find themselves on the wrong side of the law after attending a college party. In Duluth, Minnesota there are several major universities and colleges and college student are frequently charged with criminal offenses. This story from Bemidji, MN is not uncommon in that it involved somebody attempting to break up an assault. It is unfortunate to hear that somebody was seriously injured. I have seen cases where the person attempting to break up the assault was not injured, and prosecutors in Duluth, MN charged the person with disorderly conduct. Disorderly conduct and assault charges are very common in Duluth, but are not the only charges college students frequently face.

University and Student Crimes in Duluth, MN

University and college students in Duluth, MN are frequently charged with DWI or DUI offenses, as well as underage consumption of alcohol. Other common offenses include fleeing on foot, criminal damage to property, and obstructing legal process. These criminal charges can have a substantial impact on the student’s future.

Hiring a Lawyer in Duluth, MN that represents students

If you are a college or university student in Duluth, MN and are charged with any criminal offense, including DWI or DUI, underage consumption of alcohol, or any other offense, you should get the assistance of a criminal defense attorney in Duluth that represents college students. Legal help can ensure you are making choices that are designed to protect your future as a professional. To schedule a free consultation with Attorney Andrew T. Poole, please contact Poole Law Office PLLC by calling 218-461-0247.