State Patrol: 152 arrested for DWI on New Year's Eve in Minnesota


The Minnesota State Patrol made 152 arrests for driving while impaired on New Year's Eve, according to numbers from State Patrol Lt. Tiffani Nielson.


The majority of the arrests came after midnight, according to Nielson. According to a WCCO report from last year, that would be a decrease from the 174 arrested on New Year's Eve across the state last year.

As 2016 begins, there is some uncertainty surrounding Minnesota's DWI law. Three recent appellate court decisions have made the law a little hazy.

"The state of DWI law is very much developing as we speak," criminal defense attorney Dan Koewler told FOX 9.

At issue, is the part of Minnesota's law that makes it a crime to refuse blood alcohol tests if someone is suspected of drunk driving – even when police do not have a warrant. However, the appellate courts recently ruled police need warrants for blood or urine tests, but not for breath tests.

Additionally, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the constitutionality of that portion of Minnesota's law.

"Minnesota is now in the national spotlight because the United States Supreme Court has stepped in, and they're going to be reviewing Minnesota's entire DWI test refusal law and giving the final word, once and for all, putting to rest: is what Minnesota is doing constitutional or not?" Koewler told FOX 9.

The supreme court's decision is not expected before June.

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DWI deaths, arrests down in Minnesota

The annual late-summer enforcement campaign is yielding fewer drunken-driving arrests this year and the number of fatal crashes involving alcohol is continuing a five-year decline, state officials say. Over the past two weekends, 605 drunken drivers were arrested as part of a statewide DWI enforcement campaign. During a similar summer's-end crackdown last year, there were 1,787 arrests over three weekends culminating on Labor Day.