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September 2018 Archives

Thousands of Minnesota DWI Cases Could Now Be Thrown Out!

While you may have been enjoying the last dog days of summer and missed this big ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court, you can catch up on what you need to know now. In order to understand this recent decision and its implications, we have to backtrack to a previous court case, Birchfield v. North Dakota, 579 U.S. -----, 136 S.Ct. 2160, 195 L.Ed.2d 560 (2016). In Birchfield, the United States Supreme Court consolidated three cases, each of which involved criminal test refusal laws and whether those laws violated the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable searches. Two of the cases involved the refusal of a blood test, and the other case involved the refusal of a breath test. Ultimately, the Court concluded that a breath test was a permissible search incident to a lawful arrest (i.e. no search warrant needed), but that a blood test did not fall within this exception (i.e. search warrant needed). In other words, the Court ruled that a state could make it a crime for an impaired driver to refuse a blood test ONLY if the police had a search warrant or if some valid exception to the search warrant requirement applies.

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