The Supreme Court has ruled that police must try to acquire a search warrant from a judge before they order a drunken driving suspect to take a blood test. However, this applies to individuals who may not consent to a blood test at the time they are suspected of drunken driving.
The decision was made 8-to-1 in April, making it a huge deal for DWI law.
Many defense attorneys are looking at this as a window of opportunity to take on Minnesota law, which says a person who refuses a blood, breath, or urine test will be charged with a crime that can be more damaging than a first-time DWI.
Attorneys have said if it is illegal to get a blood test without a warrant, then it isn’t fair for a driver to be penalized just for test refusal. In other words, defense attorneys have decried the law as unconstitutional and that there is a very strong argument to back that up.
Throughout the years, DUI and DWI suspects have been told that they must submit to testing or be charged with a crime. This has more or less not given a person a choice to submit to the testing, despite the fact they are given the “choice.” They have technically been given the choice to move forward with the testing or be charged with and then convicted of a crime that could harm them more than a DWI conviction.
Nonetheless, most people do consent to at least one of the chemical test options. There have not been many nonconsensual blood draw cases in the state, but it is argued that there have not been a lot of these cases because suspects are immediately advised that not submitting to the testing is against Minnesota law. The idea is that someone who is consenting is consenting because they have to.
But despite any challenges that the new ruling may present, there are a number of defense teams throughout the state that say the decision could change the future of Minnesota law. To many, it is the most fundamental DWI law ruling in many years.