Minn. Supreme Court ruling could set new precedent for DWI cases

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The Minnesota Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision Wednesday morning on whether police need a warrant to take blood, breath and urine tests of suspected drunk drivers.

The case, State v. Brooks, is a consolidation of three DWI cases involving Wesley Eugene Brooks, 40, of Prior Lake who consented to tests in all three arrests, but later argued he was coerced.

According to the Minnesota Lawyer blog, the defense argues 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.

The blog describes the case as Minnesota's Missouri v. McNeely, in the which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police, in most cases, are required to obtain a warrant before subjecting a suspected drunk driver to a blood test.

Following the ruling, Stearns County implemented a policy in August that says law enforcement officers need a search warrants to obtain blood samples from suspected drunk drivers who refuse chemical tests.

In Minnesota, blood tests make up less than 20 percent of DWI cases. Most arrests occur after a breathalyzer test.

Under the state's implied consent law, a suspected drunk driver can be charged with a crime if a blood, breath or urine test is refused.

Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said he's not convinced the U.S. Supreme Court decision affects the state's implied consent law, but the Minnesota Supreme Court decision might provide more clarification.

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