What is a Franks Hearing?
And how can it help you avoid a DWI conviction?
Recently, a judge granted a motion for my Franks Hearing for my client, a rare occasion in all cases, let alone DWI blood warrants.
A Franks Hearing gives a defendant the chance to contest the validity of probable cause in your search warrant. It’s one of the most challenging motions for a defense attorney to have granted. In a Franks Hearing, you and your legal counsel will have the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses and provide evidence that the facts alleged in the search warrant are false.
To get the hearing, we have to convince the judge of two things. First, we have evidence to support our claim that the facts in the warrant are false. Second, there would not have been sufficient probable cause for the warrant without those false facts.
DWI Blood Test pursuant to a warrant
In 2017, the United States supreme court ruled that a DWI blood test are unconstitutional without a warrant. Minnesota and many other states amended their DWI statutes to reflect the unconstitutionality of a warrantless DWI blood test. However, the Supreme Court of Minnesota, in a close 4-3 decision, decided you are not entitled to consult an attorney before deciding whether to submit to a DWI blood test in DWI cases.
Most defendants are surprised and confused by this because it’s been established for years that you have a right to speak to an attorney first. Some defendants even refuse the DWI blood test simply because they believe the case will be thrown out. While I vehemently disagree with the ruling, siding with the three dissenting judges, I am bound to work around it, but there are ways we can use blood warrants to our advantage.
How can your DWI attorney use your warrant in a DWI blood test?
The good news is that a warrant in a DWI case isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can provide us with additional protections and opportunities that are not available in other DWI arrests. Warrants are required to establish probable cause, meaning adequate probable cause has to be in the warrant itself, not just existing at the time of an arrest. If the officer left something out or made a mistake, the validity of the warrant can be called into question.
For example, if the officer said you swerved on First Street, but you swerved on Second Street, I can use that mistake to have the accusation of swerving dismissed altogether. If the swerving was cited as probable cause for the warrant, we would submit a motion for a Franks Hearing to contest the warrant of the DWI blood test.
A Franks Hearing would allow us to show evidence, like dashcam or bodycam video, that there was insufficient probable cause in the warrant because the facts stated were all or partly false. After we present our evidence, the judge reevaluates the warrant without the false facts and determines whether probable cause still exists for the DWI blood test.
Why are motions for Franks Hearings usually denied?
These motions are complicated and require a lot of information, so they’re usually denied because they’re inadequately supported. My most recent motion was granted because I laid out the facts and clearly demonstrated that the evidence would invalidate the probable cause for the DWI blood test in my client’s warrant. That’s what must be done every time to secure a Franks Hearing, so you have to be sure your DWI attorney is willing to take the time to dispute your DWI blood test.
The other challenge in Franks Hearings for DWI blood test pursuant to a warrant cases is that probable cause is easy to come by. You only need to show a single indicator like bloodshot eyes or odor. Those can be difficult – but not impossible – to prove false.
What should you do if you’ve refused a blood test?
If you refused to submit to a DWI blood test pursuant to a warrant, call my office today to schedule a consultation. I will be a fierce advocate for your rights and put in the time and effort to bring you the best possible outcome or to have your charges dismissed altogether.
**If you were arrested and charged with a DWI pursuant to a DWI blood test warrant or refusal to a DWI blood test warrant contact my office today at (612) 895-7438 to schedule a free consultation.**
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