A ruling in Minnesota’s Court of Appeals may have implications for how state police implement drunken driving laws in the future.
The court overturned the conviction of Todd Trahan, who was sentenced to five years in prison after he was arrested for drunk driving in October 2012 in Ramsey County – after having been convicted of DWI several times previously.
During the course of his arrest, Trahan refused to submit to a blood test to determine his blood alcohol level. He was then charged under Minnesota’s “implied consent law,” which requires suspected drunken drivers to give a blood or urine sample or be charged with refusing – which carries a heftier penalty.
But the Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that allowing state police to draw blood from a suspect without their permission is unconstitutional. Judge Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks noted such a test is a “serious intrusion into the human body.”
Since conducting the test without permission is unconstitutional, the ruling said, so was punishing a suspect for refusing the test.
As a result, state law enforcement officials may soon need a warrant before they can take a blood sample from a motorist suspected of driving while impaired.
MPR reports there will be exceptions to this. But what won’t be an exception is police’s concern that by the time they get the warrant and administer the test, the suspect will give a negative reading.
The news organization adds that Minnesota’s implied consent law has been “under attack” since a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2013 that states police “generally” need a warrant to get a blood or urine sample.
The ruling does not apply to breath tests to measure blood alcohol levels. The Court of Appeals last year upheld the state’s implied consent law as it relates to breath tests, meaning police are allowed to conduct these tests on suspected drunken drivers without a warrant.
The Minnesota Court of Appeals has finally acknowledged that a search warrant was needed for a DWI blood test request. https://www.dwiguys.com/minnesota-court-of-appeals-warrant-needed-for-dwi-blood-test-refusal-to-test-without-warrant-not-a-crime/