Should police need warrant to test Minn. drivers for alcohol? - KMSP-TV

  • Should police need to obtain a warrant to test for alcohol in the state of Minnesota?

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Should police need warrant to test Minn. drivers for alcohol?

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

A Minnesota civil rights group believes a warrant should be required for all alcohol testing in the state of Minnesota and will present a brief to the Minnesota Supreme Court to challenge a recent ruling.

Minnesota’s current “implied consent” law states that if you are arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you were driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath or urine. The penalty for refusing a test results in the suspension of your license for at least one year, depending on your DWI history. You do not have to take a preliminary breath test, but the officer can still place you under arrest and you might be lawfully required to take a chemical test later.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota presented their case to the Minnesota Supreme Court saying Minnesota’s current law takes away an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights, but the Court of Appeals upheld the law.

The Supreme Court found collection of blood and urine samples is a Fourth Amendment "search," and the ACLU-MN believes that search should require a warrant.

"The Minnesota Court of Appeals decision turns the Fourth Amendment on its head, and is setting a dangerous precedent by stating that the police don't actually need to get a warrant as long as they had good evidence," said Teresa Nelson, Legal Director of the ACLU-MN. "I think most people would be appalled if the police could search our houses without a warrant simply because they stated they had enough evidence to do so."

Howard Bass of the Bass Law Firm and Nicole Moen of Fredrikson and Byron are cooperating attorney in the case along with Teresa Nelson of the ACLU-MN.

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