Written By Douglas T. Kans
Warrantless blood draws have always been a controversial subject. In Minnesota, a recent ruling by the Minnesota Appeals Court has attempted to provide clarity around the subject by stating that blood may not be drawn from a motorist, by force without a warrant.
Janet Sue Shriner, 47 was driving on the wrong side of the road when she crashed into another car in the summer of 2006 in Burnsville Minnesota. Fleeing the scene and leaving behind the injured driver, Shriner was caught by Officer Maksim Yakovlev after he used force to bring her vehicle to a stop. Once he stopped her vehicle, Yakovlev broke open the window of her car to open the door and forcibly remove her.
The officer noted that her eyes were “bloodshot and glazed over”; she smelled of alcohol and was unable to stand on her own. Armed with these facts, the officer took her to the hospital and ordered a blood test.
The officer didn’t receive consent from the driver, nor did he receive a search warrant from the magistrate. Subsequently, Shriner was charged with seven criminal charges, however her Minneapolis DWI attorney was successful in having two of them dropped when a Dakota County District Court judged dismissed DUI and criminal vehicle operation charges because of the improperly obtained blood test evidence.
The case eventually made its way to the Minnesota Appeals Court that upheld the original dismissal, ruling that in a criminal vehicular prosecution, special circumstances, in addition to there being evidence of alcohol consumption are constitutionally necessary for any blood to be taken without a warrant or the drivers’ expressed consent. Two of the three judges who heard the case supported the decision. Currently, the Minnesota Court of appeal decision is under review by the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Anyone facing charges related to a vehicle accident is encouraged to contact a Minneapolis DWI attorney. Douglas Kans, a Minneapolis DWI attorney with years of relevant experience is qualified, competent and has the capabilities to handle these types of cases.