The Minnesota Court of Appeals has recently overturned the conviction of a man who was arrested and accused of DWI in October of 2012. The judge ruled that because there was no warrant involved, criminalizing a driver who refuses a blood test is a violation of their constitutional rights. While refusing a breath test can still result in penalties, the judge ruled that because blood tests are more invasive, a warrant must be obtained before they can be administered.
While obtaining a warrant may not be as efficient in the pursuit of a DWI charge, proceeding with a blood test without one is now officially considered an “unreasonable search,” and any evidence obtained will be dismissed. As such, law enforcement must obtain search warrants for DWI blood tests.
Our own Attorney Charles Clas recently appeared on Fox 9 News to discuss the case and the fact that blood tests are not the common chemical test in DWI cases. Even though blood tests are not as common as breath tests, the ruling is still a big decision that could lead to the challenging of cases where blood tests were taken without warrants.
According to court documents, the man was pulled over by a Ramsey County sheriff’s deputy for erratic driving and speeding. Upon approaching the vehicle, the sheriff noticed that he smelled strongly of alcohol, had red, watery eyes, and had difficulty standing. Because he was clearly “agitated and unpredictable,” the sheriff opted not to administer a field sobriety test.
He arrested the driver and took him to the local police station, where he was asked to take a blood or urine test. The sheriff alleges that the man tampered with his urine test by filling it with sink water, and subsequently refused a blood test. This refusal resulted in a first-degree refusal to submit to a chemical test. Compounded with his previous DWI convictions, Trahan was sentenced to 60 months in prison. He has been in prison since 2012.
The Ramsey County attorney’s office intends to file a petition asking the Minnesota Supreme Court to reverse the appellate decision.
Need a DWI Lawyer? We’re Available to Help
If you are facing penalties for refusing an unwarranted DWI blood test, contact Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. Your rights have been violated and we may be able to help you get your charges dismissed. Speak with a Minneapolis DWI defense lawyer today to learn how we can help by calling us at (612) 444-5020.