The Constitution is a hard taskmaster. To protect everyone from intrusions by the police and other law enforcement personal, the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits "unreasonable searches and seizures." The police, wishing to search a person or premises need to have a search warrant, which requires a showing of probable cause to a judge that a crime has been committed or will be committed.
There are already many, many different consequences that someone who is accused of driving under the influence must face. There's the possibility of jail time; the definite loss of license; the possibility of ignition interlock, or special license plates that signify a DUI offender; and plenty of other potential consequences. All of these consequences have a certain financial element too them -- but there are also outright financial penalties for a DUI offender.
Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes, and we Minnesotans make great use of the many lake options that we have. During the summer, you're missing out if you don't take a few trips to the lake and enjoy a few hours out on a boat, hanging out with a few of your friends.
Getting into an accident can be very frightening. After a crash, there can be injured people, damaged cars and the chaos of an accident scene complete with police officers. In many situations, officers will explore the possibility that the accident was caused by a drunk driver.
Minnesota's drunk driving statutes use a complex array of aggravating factors that may be used to enhance a charge for allegedly driving while impaired to a higher level of offense. Typically, a first-time offender is charged with a misdemeanor. However, a first-time offender may be charged with third-degree DWI if law enforcement or prosecutors allege that an aggravating factor was present at the time of the offense; a third-degree offense is a gross misdemeanor.
The current drunk driving laws in Minnesota are enough to make anyone want to avoid an arrest. If some state lawmakers have it their way, the DWI laws in the state would get even tougher. And on the side of those lawmakers is a story that brings out sadness and upset in just about anyone who hears it.
Law enforcement officials can increase the severity of drunk driving charges based on the circumstances behind an arrest. Generally speaking, felony driving under the influence charges will be issued in Minnesota if an alcohol-related car accident causes injuries or death. Being convicted of any type of felony can severely limit professional opportunities, cause a number of privileges to be revoked and usually includes time behind bars.
Drunk driving is a serious criminal offense in Minnesota, but never more so than when it results in a fatality. Anyone convicted of criminal vehicular homicide as a result of drunk driving could potentially face a maximum of 10 years in prison or a $20,000 fine for each count. One Eden Prairie man now faces such a fate following a drunk driving fatality accident in August. His 23-year-old nephew, a Marine, was killed in the crash.
No matter how serious criminal accusations are, accused individuals are entitled to certain rights that protect them from unfair prosecution. When law enforcement officials fail to adhere to constitutional protections, the outcome of any subsequent criminal trial could be dramatically changed.