Accessible, Responsive And Timely Legal Representation

A Closer Look at Consent vs. Coercion

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2013 | Firm News |


When a person gives consent to a urine test in order to discern blood alcohol level, can this really be considered “consent” as is defined by the law? -Especially if the test analysis will result in criminal charges.

According to a recent news article from the Star Tribune, the Minnesota Supreme Court has said “yes.”

A driver’s decision to agree to take a test is not coerced simply because Minnesota has attached the penalty of making it a crime to refuse the test.

In regards to the 1961 law that says that anyone with a valid driver’s license has automatically agreed to chemical testing during a DWI arrest, Chief Justice Lorie Gildea said DWI test results can be used against them in court. Which begs the question, where is the constitutionality in the implied-consent law if one has no choice?

Additionally, some people in some pretty high places have agreed with the Supreme Court’s ruling, namely Bill Lemons, traffic safety resource prosecutor for the Minnesota County Attorneys Association. Lemons is quoted saying:

“I think it makes clear that if you follow the implied-consent procedures and law, then the consent is valid and the test results admissible.”

So what’s their reason for what seems to be coercion instead of consent, even if we discuss them in the most basic of terms? Simply: time. Based on a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling (Missouri vs. McNeely) from April, police officers should have to get a search warrant before doing urine tests if they want their evidence to hold up in a court room. Their reasoning against it, according to the Star Tribune was “that alcohol quickly dissipates in the blood is no longer justification for not getting a judge’s sign-off.”

So essentially what is being said is that implied-consent is constitutional. If you are a read a consent advisory, you have given up your rights to deny testing, even if you know that it will lead to criminal charges. It’s hard not to argue that the consent-law needs to be vetted by another court and looked at more deeply.

If you are in the Twin Cities of St. Paul or Minneapolis, please contact a Minneapolis DWI Lawyer to discuss your case.