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Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorney Looks at Recent Minnesota Supreme Court Rulings Involving Vehicle Impoundment and Searches

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2014 | Firm News |

One of the issues I repeatedly look into as a Minneapolis criminal defense attorney is evidence collection – more specifically, whether the evidence being held against you was obtained properly. Were you searched improperly? Were your assets seized in an unconstitutional way?

Police may find something incriminating on your cell phone, in your car, or in your home. But it’s always important to look into whether the way they collected the evidence was constitutional. In a number of cases it will be; but in other cases it either won’t or there will be some sort of gray area that will demand further questioning. Furthermore, police may impound your vehicle or seize other assets; it’s important to question the legitimacy of those actions.

Two recent cases decided on by the Minnesota Supreme Court highlight the importance of constitutionality for vehicle impoundment and searches.

As recently reported in the news, one of the cases involved a man who was stopped for going 63 mph in a 60 mph zone. Police found that he didn’t have a driver’s license and then searched and towed his vehicle away; the search yielded a discovery of methamphetamine in the car and over $600 that the man carried on him. He wound up fighting for the return of his cash and vehicle; ultimately, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in his favor, as the initial traffic stop wasn’t constitutional, meaning that the forfeiture of his property wasn’t acceptable either.

In the second case, police impounded a woman’s vehicle, even though she had apparently parked it properly after being pulled over for a traffic violation. After impounding the vehicle, police searched it and found multiple bags of meth and other drug paraphernalia. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that this evidence was inadmissible, because even though her initial traffic stop was constitutional, her vehicle shouldn’t have been impounded.

These are important cases because they reaffirm people’s right to be treated in a fair and constitutional way by the criminal justice system. Even when there’s potential incriminating evidence, it must be collected in accordance with the law; and if police want to seize your assets, they must do so on legitimate grounds. When you contact us to discuss your case, we’ll review these issues and how they might affect your case.