The U.S. Supreme court has recently agreed to review the case of the State of Minnesota vs. Bernard. Through this process, the constitutionality of the Implied Consent DWI Test Refusal Law in MN will be put to the test.
All fifty states have implied consent laws, stating that by possessing a driver’s license, you consent to alcohol testing if suspected of DWI.  Minnesota’s test refusal law sets it apart from many other states however, in that fact that it is a crime for a suspected drunken-driver to refuse a warrantless test. MN is also unique in the fact that a person can be convicted of refusing a test even if later acquitted of the DWI.
By reviewing State vs Bernard, along with two cases from North Dakota, the Supreme Court will be deciding whether states can make it a crime for persons suspected of drunken driving to refuse breath, blood, or urine tests.
Proponents of Minnesota’s strict handling of DWI cases believe these laws keep roadways safe.  “It is rational to conclude that criminalizing the refusal to submit to a breath test relates to the state’s ability to prosecute drunk drivers and keep Minnesota roads safe,” states Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea,
The three defendants in the cases to be reviewed are arguing that that taking blood and urine samples is a search under the Fourth Amendment and therefore requires a warrant. Their attorneys urge the Supreme Court to forbid states from “giving greater constitutional protection to an arrestee’s pockets or handbag than to the arrestee’s body.”
The Supreme Court’s decision, expected to be made in June, will have a significant impact on DWI convictions and laws in our state and across the country.  If you have been previously charged with a DWI and are wondering how this review might affect you or if you have recently been accused of drunken driving, contact F. Clayton Tyler to discuss your case. We are to provide straight-forward, honest answers and support.