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Minn. Supreme Court Upholds DWI Stop Implied-Consent
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The Minnesota Supreme Court rejected the claims of a man that he was forced to provide blood and urine samples used in his DWI convictions as Minnesota law made it a crime to refuse providing samples during a DWI stop. The unanimous opinion of the court found that in Minnesota police did not need a search warrant to take blood and urine samples from a suspect at a DWI stop.

The ruling seems to be in apparent contradiction to a recent ruling by the US Supreme Court in a Missouri matter where the court had ruled police must try to obtain a search warrant before ordering blood tests from drunk-driving suspects.

  
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However, obtaining such samples without a warrant in Minnesota is perfectly legal as the law of implied-consent in the state considers drivers having consented to sobriety tests.

The constitutionality of the implied-consent law of 1961 was not challenged in the matter, and that topic remains open to debate.

This was the first case in Minnesota after the US Supreme Court holding warrants mandatory for DWI stop sobriety tests that analyzed and made clear the Missouri precedent at the US Supreme Court did not apply to Minnesota.

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Chief Justice Lorie Gildea of the Minnesota Supreme Court observed in her opinion that “While an individual does not necessarily need to know he or she has a right to refuse a search for consent to be voluntary, the fact that someone submits to the search after being told that he or she can say no to the search supports a finding of voluntariness.”

And if that seems a little difficult to follow, Gildea made it clearer with another comment that the decision of a driver to take a sobriety test “is not coerced simply because Minnesota has attached the penalty of making it a crime to refuse the test.”





 

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