On Oct. 23, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld Minnesota’s “implied consent” law. This is a very big development in our state’s DWI law because it means that DWI law will, for the most part, continue its course; a decision the other way would have had great implications.
“Implied consent” means that when motorists use Minnesota’s roadways, they have tacitly agreed to giving a blood, urine or breath test in the event that a law enforcement officer believes they have been driving under the influence.
Many other states follow this legal construct as well, and countrywide, people have challenged this idea because they see the taking of bodily fluids, like blood and urine, as very invasive and a possible violation of the Constitutional protection against unwarranted search and seizure.
In the case before the Minnesota Supreme Court, State v. Brooks, the plaintiff said he was coerced into giving an alcohol test. The court disagreed, saying the fact that there is a punishment attached to not submitting to a test (a suspended drivers’ license for up to one year) does not mean a submission is “coerced.”
Had the court decided the other way, officers would likely have needed a search warrant before every alcohol test. This possibility has scared some law enforcement agencies, because they see it as a cumbersome impediment to their jobs.
As a Minneapolis DWI Attorney, I am always interested in protecting my clients’ rights. For further information on the kind of representation I provide, you are welcome to contact me.