Warrant now needed for DWI urine and blood tests in Minnesota, court rules

Law enforcement officials who suspect that a Minnesota driver is intoxicated usually administer standard field sobriety tests to determine whether there is probable cause to arrest the person for DWI. After an arrest, Minnesota law provides that an officer may administer a blood, breath or urine test to determine the person's alcohol concentration level. In fact, Minnesota law go further and says that refusing to provide that test is a crime in itself. But the Minnesota Supreme Court recently ruled that if a person refuses a urine or blood test, he or she cannot be charged with a crime for doing so. The Court decided that law enforcement officials need a warrant to force a driver suspected of DWI to take one of those tests.

Prior legislation

This new decision was made following a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that law enforcement officials need to obtain a warrant before requiring a blood test, but they do not need to get a warrant to require a breath test after pulling a person over for intoxicated driving. The recent rulings made by the Minnesota Supreme Court cleared up the undecided issue about urine tests on the basis that compared to blood or breath tests, they are a greater invasion of privacy.

As a result of these rulings, drivers pulled over for DWI in Minnesota should remember that there are consequences only for not submitting to a breath test unless a warrant is obtained for a blood or urine test.

Consequences of a DWI in Minnesota

When a driver takes a blood, breath or urine test and is charged with having a BAC level above the legal limit, he or she faces both criminal and administrative consequences. How severe those sanctions are following an arrest depends on several factors, such as the past record of the driver.

According to the Minnesota House of Representatives, administrative consequences are designed to be immediate, and they can include vehicle forfeiture, plate impoundment and license revocation. Comparatively, criminal DWI consequences can include monitoring, probation, incarceration and chemical dependency treatment. If a driver is convicted of a DWI he or she will then have a criminal record.

Reach out to an attorney

Following a DWI arrest in Minnesota, drivers may be worried about how the consequences they face will affect their finances, record and standing within their community. In this situation, drivers should contact an experienced attorney who can ensure their best interests are protected.