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Minnesota Court of Appeals Finds Warrantless Blood and Urine Testing Unconstitutional

This blog post was recently updated. Click here to find out the current state of the law.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals recently decided two cases that have a significant impact on Minnesota's DWI laws.

In State v. Trahan and State v. Thompson, the court found that it is unconstitutional to prosecute individuals for refusing a warrantless blood or urine test absent extraordinary circumstances, such as a traffic accident resulting in injury or death.

So what does this mean for Minnesota drivers stopped for a routine DWI? It means that you can lawfully refuse to submit to warrantless blood or urine testing without being charged with a crime. This is despite the fact that law enforcement officers tell drivers that refusal to submit to chemical testing is a crime. If a warrant is obtained, cooperating with the test is necessary, and breath testing is a different story. In another recent decision, the Minnesota Supreme Court found that warrantless breath testing is constitutional (although that decision will be reviewed by the United States Supreme Court this spring).

What is the take away? If you are offered a breath test, your best bet is to usually take the test. If a warrantless blood or urine test is requested, you may constitutionally refuse absent extraordinary circumstances.

DWI law is very nuanced. If you have been arrested or charged with a DWI, contact Bird, Jacobsen & Stevens, P.C. right away.

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