Minnesota Supreme Court Considers Change in DWI Law

Does law enforcement have the right to use search warrants in order to obtain a blood sample from a suspected impaired driver? The constitutionality of this question is being considered by the Minnesota Supreme Court this week. In Stearns County and in the city of St. Cloud, search warrants are required for drivers who will not voluntarily submit to a chemical test that will measure their blood alcohol content.

The Minnesota Statues under Minnesota DWI laws have an implied consent advisory which state that the refusal to a chemical test is a crime. Opponents say that the law is unconstitutionally coercive because of the criminal penalty that is administered to those who refuse to take a test when suspected of impaired driving.

In the summer of 2013, the United States Supreme Court heard arguments from a similar case coming from Missouri. The U.S. Supreme Court decided that a law enforcement officer must consider more than the dissipation of alcohol and potentially destroyed evidence when deciding to obtain a search warrant.

Minnesota is a state that considers the dissipation of alcohol enough reason to obtain a search warrant and a legal blood draw by law enforcement.

The case of Minnesota v. Brooks was sent back from the U.S. Supreme Court after the case of Missouri v. McNeely was heard.

2 thoughts on “Minnesota Supreme Court Considers Change in DWI Law

  1. Anyone hear is this legislation was ever passed and if so, when did it come into affect?

    • You can find information at Star Tribune’s article, but I’ve posted the answer here: “Wesley Brooks agreed to provide the blood and urine samples that became the key evidence in each of his three drunken-driving convictions.

      But can Brooks, of Prior Lake, and thousands of others like him across Minnesota, truly be said to have “consented” to providing a sample if refusing to do so results in criminal charges?

      Yes, the Minnesota Supreme Court said in a ruling Wednesday heralded by law enforcement, although many legal observers say it leaves unanswered questions about the constitutionality of Minnesota’s implied-consent law. That law, established in 1961, says anyone issued a driver’s license has automatically agreed to chemical testing during a DWI arrest and the results can be used against them in court. Refusal results in criminal charges.

      In a unanimous decision, the court rejected Brooks’ argument that he didn’t have a choice as to whether he should provide blood and urine samples, simply because refusing to do so is a crime in Minnesota.”

      Source: http://www.startribune.com/local/minneapolis/228959711.html

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