On March 30, 2010, the Minnesota Court of Appeals filed an unpublished opinion in a case entitled Kruckow v. Comissioner of Public Safety, in which the petitioner, Ms. Kruckow, challenged the revocation of her driver’s license under Minnesota’s Implied Consent law with two arguments: First, she challenged the certification of her test results because it appeared that the officer had certified her urine test results before the test results were actually known; and second, she argued that her procedural due process rights had been violated because the test results weren’t certified properly. The Appellate Court disagreed.
Police officers must comply with certification requirements when determining whether there is probable cause to request an individual suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol to submit to a breath, urine or blood test under the Implied Consent law in Minnesota, according to Minnesota Statute section 169A.52 subd. 4(a), which reads:
“Upon certification by the peace officer that there existed probable cause to believe the person had been driving, operating, or in physical control of a motor vehicle in violation of section 169A.20 (driving while impaired) and that the person submitted to a test and the test results indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more or the presence of a controlled substance listed in schedule I or II . . . then the commissioner shall revoke the person’s license. . .”
This certification is really line nine on the Implied Consent form; officers check the box next to line nine once they have the results of a person’s blood, breath or urine test and those results indicate an alcohol concentration of over 0.08. The officer then signs the form and this is the certification to which the statute refers.
Kruckow challenged the certification in her case because the signature and the checking of the box in line nine were in a different color ink and she argued it appeared as though the box had been checked and the signature completed before her urine test results had been returned.
In disagreeing with Kruckow, the Appellate Court cited to a case entitled Johnson v. Commissioner of Public Safety, decided in 2006, in which the Court of Appeals stated that even when a peace officer’s certificate is defectively completed, as long as the officer provides other supporting documentation – like the officer’s narrative report, the notice of order and revocation and the test results showing the individual’s blood alcohol was over the legal limit – the certification is proper.
The second argument Krukcow made unsuccessfully was that her procedural due process rights had been violated because of the improper certification. The Court again disagreed and cited to Johnson, stating that the alleged improper certification had not created “a direct and personal harm,” which is what is required to prove a procedural due process violation. In this case as well, the Court stated that because it was undisputed that Kruckow’s urine test results were 0.18, she also had not proven a direct and personal harm, which would have given her due process argument merit.