The recent Supreme Court ruling could potentially result in thousands of DWI cases in Minnesota being tossed out.
To refresh you on the ruling… the police must first obtain a search warrant before being able to take a blood alcohol sample from a drunk driving suspect. The failure of an arresting officer to take a blood test without consent or without a search warrant would be in violation of the individual’s Fourth Amendment rights.
In the state of Minnesota, less than 20 percent of all DWI cases are made up of blood tests. The remaining 80 percent of such arrests are made after breathalyzer tests. This ruling, however, will greatly impact all DWI tests.
The State Patrol, on the other hand, sees the situation very differently. To them, the Supreme Court ruling will not make much of an impact on the Minnesota DWI arrests. After all, this decision only affects blood tests that are involuntary.
According to defense attorneys from across the state, this will remain to be an issue as practically no DWI tests in Minnesota are voluntary. In fact, DWI suspects are even informed that it is considered a crime not to comply with such tests. In Minnesota, police officers are also allowed to take blood samples without a court order in cases that involve serious injury or death.
Minneapolis City’s attorney’s office handles more than 1,000 DWI cases each year, and they insist that this new ruling will have little impact as it has narrow applicability, and will not have an automatic effect on existing cases.
In a 5-4 vote, high-court justices established that it was much more important for police officers to obtain a warrant for a blood test compared to the risk that an individual’s blood alcohol levels could diminish or lower with time.
DWI attorneys, however, believe that the ruling will cause courts to throw out every pending urine, blood and breathalyzer test in Minnesota.
Defense attorneys and law enforcement officials have very different takes on the effects of this ruling, and this could possibly result in lengthy legal battles over individual cases.
If you are charged with DWI in the state of Minnesota, call the Kans Law Firm, LLC at (952) 835-6314 for a free consultation and case evaluation.