DWI ruling: You can refuse a blood test, but not a breath test

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Is it unconstitutional for Minnesota to punish drunken driving suspects who refuse to do blood or breath tests?

That was the big question Thursday, and the U.S. Supreme Court made a decision: Yes and no, respectively.

So basically, it's within your rights to decline a blood test. But if you refuse the breath test, you could be in some trouble.

This has been a topic of interest for some time, now.

Last year, the Supreme Court announced it'd examine the "implied consent" laws in Minnesota and North Dakota that make it a crime for people to refuse blood, breath and urine tests.

Implied consent means when a driver gets behind the wheel, they're automatically saying they're willing to get tested for intoxication – the consent to the testing is implied.

But some people argued that law violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects people from "unreasonable searches and seizures."

That apparently extends to blood tests, but not the breath tests.

Justice Samuel Alito told the Atlantic it's important to have some sort of testing for intoxicated driving.

He went on to explain the decision, saying "breath tests are significantly less intrusive than blood tests," according to USA Today.

So now a warrant will be required in order for law enforcement officials to require a blood test.

Drivers in all states can have their licenses revoked if they refuse drunken driving tests, ABC New says. However, this ruling affects the 11 states that have laws for additional criminal penalties.

The Minnesota case

The Minnesota law was challenged by an Eagan man, William Bernard, Jr., who was arrested in South St. Paul in 2012 after refusing to submit to sobriety testing.

He was arrested at a public boat ramp after witnesses said he was the driver of a truck that had gotten stuck while trying to pull a boat out of the water. He was charged after he refused to submit to the tests.

A Minnesota district court threw out the two felony charges against Bernard, but they were reinstated by an appeals court and upheld by the state Supreme Court.

Following the ruling, the Star Tribune says Bernard's case will go back to trial in Dakota County.

Next Up

prison, Rush City cell block

Another Minnesota prison inmate dies after COVID-19 diagnosis

The virus has killed at least six Minnesota inmates.

leech lake band of ojibwe sign

11,760 acres of land wrongly taken from Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe will be returned

The Senate and now the House have passed a bill that effectively returns the land. It's now headed for the president's signature.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves release first half of 2020-21 regular season schedule

The second half of the schedule will be announced at a later date.

reindeer como zoo

Watch live: Como Zoo's live reindeer cam is back for December

The live feed will run 24/7 allowing you to keep an eye on Santa's antlered helpers.

sleeping

Three simple ways to boost your immune health heading into winter

Eating right is one thing, but there are other ways to stay healthy as the days shorten.

Taylor Rogers

Why Twins fans shouldn't give up on Taylor Rogers

The Twins closer struggled in 2020 but could rebound next season.

Co. Rd. 2 crash, Wakefield Twp.

Teen driver leaves road, crashes into three trees

Fortunately, the 16-year-old was not injured.

mndot deer  tunnel 1

Minnesota is getting its first highway crossing for animals

This will provide a safe way for animals to cross the street, and hopefully limit deer-vehicle collisions.

Screen Shot 2020-12-04 at 11.00.30 AM

Money Gal Coaching: Habits of a millionaire, just in time for the holidays?

Kelly Blodgett started Money Gal Coaching after paying down nearly $50K in debt in 18 months.

Related