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Update: Minnesota court hears landmark blood alcohol test case

The issue of warrantless blood-alcohol tests in drunk driving cases has become a hot criminal law topic throughout the country. Earlier this year, the nation's top court ruled that police must obtain a warrant before taking blood samples from those who are suspected of driving under the influence when there is enough time to do so.

As we previously discussed on this blog, the U.S. Supreme Court also sent a related, high-profile case back to Minnesota courts. This particular case, known as State v. Brooks, addresses the constitutionality of the state’s implied consent law, which makes it a crime to refuse breath or blood tests. Recently, attorney Jeff Sheridan made oral arguments in this case before the Minnesota Supreme Court on behalf of the defendant.

The arguments highlighted the serious constitutional concerns about the implied consent laws. Essentially, those who are stopped under suspicion of driving under the influence are coerced into taking the test, which could produce incriminating results. This is largely because refusal to do so will also result in a criminal charge.

It's clear to see that the ruling in this case could have far-reaching effects on drunk driving charges throughout the state. Now that the defense has submitted arguments before the state court, many are eagerly awaiting a decision.

More than anything else, those who are suspected of or charged with a crime do not surrender their constitutional rights, and this case is just another reminder of that fact. As such, readers may be interested in following this important case as it continues to unfold.

Source: Mille Lacs Messenger, "Search warrants for blood alcohol tests," Judge Frank Kundrat, Sep. 13, 2013

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