A Minnesota Court of Appeals decision made this Tuesday states that there must be a warrant in place in order for law enforcement to give a blood test to a driver when they are suspected of impairment.
Judge Jill Flaskamp Halbrooks wrote the opinion that part of the Minnesota’s Driving While Impaired laws put forth in 2012 is unconstitutional. This subdivision declared that refusal to agree to a chemical test is a crime.
Judge Halbrooks made this decision in light of the case of Todd Trahan after he refused a chemical test and, as a result, was charged with first-degree test refusal. An officer pulled him over when he was driving erratically and speeding in Ramsey County in 2012.
While at the station, an officer accused Trahan of tampering with urine test results. Afterwards, he refused to submit to a blood test. He received a 60 month prison sentence.
After a lengthy wait to bring his case to Appeals, Trahan’s lawyers formed his case around a violation of his right to substantive due process. The court disagreed with this fact, though they did agree that a blood test is considered an unreasonable search of one’s body.
In the opinion, Judge Halbrooks states that a warrantless blood test does make it possible for the state to prosecute drunk drivers and keep the roads in Minnesota safe. However, it neglects to pass the strict-scrutiny review that considers the matter of government’s interest versus a constitutional right.
Though the Attorney’s Office of Ramsey County plans to appeal, there is a chance for the decision to change the law. Soon, law enforcement may have to get warrants in every case that involves suspected drunk drivers. A competent Minneapolis DWI lawyer will be sure to protect your rights when it comes to DWI cases.
If you wish to discuss your own DWI case, you should contact us right away.