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How a Minnesota Ruling May Have Nationwide Implications

All 50 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. Minnesota is also unique in the fact that a person can be convicted of refusing a test even if later acquitted of the DWI.

On December 28, The Minnesota Court of Appeals threw out the conviction of Ryan Mark Thompson, who refused to submit to a urine test. Thompson was arrested in April 2012 on suspicion of driving under the influence. He was charged with second-degree test refusal, third-degree driving while under the influence, obstructing the legal process, and driving over the centerline. Even after the other charges were dropped, Thompson was convicted of refusing a urine test. He challenged the constitutionality of the test-refusal law. The appellate court determined that a warrant was needed by police officers to obtain a urine test from Thompson.

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that taking blood and urine samples is a search under the Fourth Amendment and therefore requires a warrant. Minnesota’s test refusal law will now be under review by the Supreme Court and the decision made is likely to have nationwide implications.

If you or someone you know has questions regarding a DWI arrest, contact F. Clayton Tyler & Associates. We provide a free, initial consultation. We have the answers you need.