St. Cloud, MN- The Minnesota Supreme Court just issued a decision that will make it harder for some alleged DUI offenders to beat their charges.
In a decision that clashes with a U.S. Supreme Court decision from last year, the Minnesota high court ruled that police don’t have to obtain a warrant before conducting a breath or chemical test on a DUI suspect if they refuse the test.
At issue was the state’s implied consent law which states that by virtue of obtaining a driver’s license, motorists agree to participate in field sobriety tests at the behest of a law enforcement. The case before the court centered on the arrest of William Bernard.
According to the Minnesota Public Radio: Acting on a tip from a witness, police apprehended Bernard near a boat launch on the Mississippi River. The witness told police they saw three visibly intoxicated men get into a truck and driver away. When police located the truck, which was hung on a boat ramp, they found Bernard staggering around the area in his underwear.
Bernard admitted to being drunk, but denied driving the truck. He refused to submit to a chemical test and was charged under the state’s implied consent laws, Minnesota Public Radio reported. That in turn gave police the power to test Bernard’s blood against his wishes without having to obtain a warrant first.
Initially, a district ruled that Bernard’s arrest for violating the state’s implied consent law was unconstitutional and his case wound up at the state’s Supreme Court, which then decided that state’s implied consent laws did not violate a U.S. Supreme Court ruling from 2013.
In Missouri vs. McNeely, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police must obtain a warrant before conducting a blood test, establishing that the natural dissipation of alcohol in person’s blood stream was not enough to violate a person’s constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.
Chief justice Lori Gildea said charging someone for refusing to submit to a blood test is “reasonable,” adding that such laws work in the interest of the state by keeping impaired drivers off the road, according to the Minnesota Public Radio.
In Minnesota, the consequences for refusing a sobriety test are harsher that a conviction for a first DUI offense. Under state statutes and person who refuses a sobriety test could lose their driver’s license for a year, however, a person convicted of their first DUI faces a minimum of 90 day license suspension.
A DUI in Minnesota is a charge that shouldn’t be taken lightly and any person facing such a charge should retain a DUI attorney immediately to begin working on their defense. A conviction for a DUI can deprive a person of their freedom and will stay on their record for years to come.
Before you try and tackle your charges alone, you need to fist contact a St. Cloud attorney who specializes in DUIs. With their help you may be able to avoid a conviction or receive a lenient sentence.