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What you should know about 'eSearch Warrants'

Here in Minnesota, law enforcement officers have to get a search warrant in order to require someone suspected of driving under the influence to have one's blood or urine tested. Further, it is a crime in itself to refuse a Breathalyzer test, regardless of whether a driver was indeed driving drunk. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that requirement to be constitutional.

When it comes to getting a search warrant ordering a blood or urine test, one catch has been the difficulty in tracking down a judge to sign such a warrant and the time required to drive to the judge and back to where the suspect is -- particularly when someone is stopped in the wee hours of the night in a rural location. By the time a warrant is obtained and the blood test administered, alcohol and other substances could have dissipated from the body -- making prosecution more difficult, if not impossible.

However, that process of obtaining a warrant has gotten easier thanks to something called an eSearch Warrant. With this new type of warrant, the application is electronically transmitted to an on-call judge. The judge can speak to an officer on the scene via telephone if he or she has any issues or questions.

Aside from allowing blood and urine tests to be done sooner, the eSearch Warrant system takes less time for officers. This allows them to get on to other duties and deal with other potential criminal activities.

These electronic warrants are part of a larger system developed by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension called "eCharging." That system helps courts, prosecutors and law enforcement officers share information more quickly.

Advancements like the eSearch Warrant can make it easier to charge someone with a DUI and successfully prosecute the case. If you are facing DUI charges, it's essential to seek experienced legal guidance.

Source: GoMN, "Minnesota cops can get search warrants within minutes now," William Wilcoxen, accessed Dec. 01, 2017

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