The status of law enforcement's right in Minnesota to demand a blood test of suspected drunk driver took another turn this week, with the release of an opinion by the Minnesota Court of Appeals in a case called State v. Trahan. The case involved a driver suspected of DWI who refused to take a blood test. Rather than prosecuting him for driving while intoxicated based on other evidence of impairment, the state only charged him under Minnesota's unusual crime of refusing to test under the state's implied consent law.
Imagine that you are driving down the highway after having a few beers at your local bar. You were celebrating at a friend's party and having a great time. You've never run afoul of the law -- but on this night, your reputation will change. Your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above the 0.08 limit; but you just don't know it yet. Once the red and blue lights start flashing in your rearview mirror, you think to yourself, "How much have I had to drink tonight?"
It may be hard to imagine, but there are circumstances where a person who is under the influence of alcohol and is driving a car does not deserve a DUI charge on their record. Allow us to explain.
You may not know it yet, but the State of Minnesota is one of the toughest states on drunk driving. In fact, Minnesota and only three other states allow results of urine testing to be used as evidence against people charged with DWI. This is true despite the reality that urine tests are widely known to be inaccurate indicators of whether a driver was drunk behind the wheel.
Despite a United States Supreme Court ruling, disputes over the introduction of blood evidence in DUI cases continue. One appellate court recently held a trial judge erred in suppression of blood evidence. The appellate court case involved a driver charged in a February 2012 accident involving the death of another person. Charges against the driver included aggravated battery, involuntary manslaughter and driving under the influence of drugs.
We've talked about implied consent on this blog before, and what it means for all drivers in the state of Minnesota if they are accused of driving under the influence. However, a recent ruling by the Supreme Court changes the way the rule is interpreted, and it has a profound affect on people who were looking to challenge a certain aspect to the rule.
Many Minnesota residents may remember a critical DWI case from four years ago that set an important precedent regarding blood tests and the maintenance of such evidence. In the case, a man was accused of driving while intoxicated -- and according to a blood test, he was indeed guilty of the act. His blood came back with an alcohol content of 0.11, a bit over the legal limit of 0.08.
When someone is charged with driving under the influence in Minnesota, it can feel like there is no way around a DWI conviction. Each DWI case is different, and some most definitely have clear avenues toward an acquittal.