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Minn. Supreme Court on DWI case: If consent is given, no warrant is needed

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The Minnesota Supreme Court says police do not need to obtain a search warrant to draw blood, breath and urine of suspected drunk drivers if consent is given.

The state's high court issued the decision in State v. Brooks Wednesday morning.

The case stems from a consolidation of three DWI cases, two in Scott County and one in Hennepin County, over a 6-month period in 2009 and 2010 involving Wesley Eugene Brooks, 40, of Prior Lake.

During all three arrests, Brooks consented to either urine or blood tests, but later argued he was coerced. Brooks' attorney argued that a DWI stop alone is not reason to take someone’s blood, breath or urine without consent and doing so is a violation of their constitutional rights.

Chief Justice Lori Gildea said in the court opinion that since Brooks consented to the blood-alcohol tests, a warrant was unnecessary.

In each case, police read Brooks the "implied consent advisory," which informs drivers that Minnesota law requires them to take a chemical test for the presence of alcohol, that refusing to take a test is a crime and that drivers have the right to talk to a lawyer before deciding whether to take a test.

Police also provided Brooks a phone to call his attorney during the arrests before he eventually agreed to testing.

"Minnesota’s implied consent law, even though it makes it a crime to refuse testing, also does not coerce a driver into testifying against himself," Gildea wrote.

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