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What Minnesota police can and cannot do in a DUI stop

On Behalf of | Sep 25, 2023 | DWI |

Seeing flashing lights atop a police car behind one’s vehicle in traffic is an unsettling experience. Several issues may increase anxiety, such as if the driver has never been pulled over before or has had a beer or other alcoholic beverage before getting behind the wheel. It is important to know what a police officer may and may not do during a Minnesota traffic stop, especially if the officer suspects DUI.   

Many police officers touch the rear end of a person’s vehicle when approaching for a traffic stop. They do this for multiple reasons. For example, an officer who touches the trunk might be checking whether there is a person hiding in it. Police often touch a car to leave a fingerprint, as well, in case the driver tries to flee the scene.   

A driver does not have to consent to a vehicle search during a DUI stop 

One of the things a police officer may not do (in most circumstances) is search a vehicle without the driver’s consent. There are exceptions to this rule, however, such as if the officer sees an open bottle of liquor through the window. Otherwise, a validly authorized search warrant is needed, and a driver can refuse to consent to search his or her person or property. 

Can Minnesota police ask whatever they want during a traffic stop? 

While a police officer can basically ask a driver anything at all during a traffic stop, the driver does not necessarily have to answer. A driver must provide proof of license, insurance and vehicle registration and must answer questions about name, address and age. Other questions do not have to be answered. A criminal defense attorney can provide much-needed support regarding DUI charges in Minnesota.