In recent news from Minneapolis, MN, the Court of Appeals upheld the statute which makes it a criminal offense to refuse a breath test in case of DUI arrests. Earlier, the Apex Court of the state had given a similar ruling in the matter. However, a case involving the issue was once again taken before the appellate tribunal in which the charges of drunk driving were dropped against the defendant, but he was convicted for refusing to take the breath test.
The lawyer fighting on behalf of David Bennett said that the statute is unconstitutional because it forces a person to submit to some form of chemical testing in order to avoid criminal charges and keep his/her license from being revoked.
Bennett was arrested after he rear ended a vehicle in 2013 in New Brighton. The trooper who took him into custody said that the defendant appeared intoxicated at the time and that preliminary breath test showed a blood alcohol level of twice of what is allowed in the state.
Yet, when he was taken to the precinct, he refused to take another test even after being advised on implied-consent. His lawyers have since argued that it is unconstitutional to subject a person to chemical tests without a search warrant.
Both the Apex and the appellate courts have made their stand on the law amply clear by saying that when a person is detained for possible DUI charges, the officer has already established probable cause and as such a search warrant is not needed to conduct the breath test.
However, the appellate bench made it clear that the ruling only concerned breath test after being detained for drunk driving and not other forms of chemical testing that the defendant may be subjected to. This means that in the future, a person could go to court seeking reprieve if a blood or urine test is administered without a warrant.