Today, the Minnesota Supreme Court released its decision in State v. Brooks, which analyzed how Minnesota’s implied consent laws interact with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in McNeely last year. Under McNeely, police officers are required to get a warrant to test the blood of a suspected DWI driver. However, Minnesota has a law that says police can ask a driver to consent to a test or face criminal charges if they refuse. However, if they refuse, no blood draw should occur (except in limited circumstances). So, the questions in Brooks was whether police now need to get a warrant to test someone’s blood instead of threatening criminal prosecution. The Minnesota Supreme Court today held that even in the face of a threat of criminal prosecution, when a person gives permission to have their blood tested for DWI purposes, it qualifies as consent, so no warrant is needed.
The Court stated “the Minnesota Legislature has given those who drive on Minnesota roads a right to refuse the chemical test.” However, if one observes this “right” the consequence is criminal punishment for refusing a test. What the Court sees as a “right,” I see as a “crime.” Despite my disagreement with the Court’s decision, it does supply the current law for DWI process in Minnesota. As such, it is even more important now to ensure that you have a lawyer assist you with a DWI matter. The Brooks decision is sure to result in new legal challenges and may be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. As such, make sure that you have an experienced Minnesota DWI lawyer who can raise all proper defenses and give you the best chance for a fair result.