Felony test refusal charges filed in Southern Minnesota

A Southern Minnesota man is accused of felony test refusal after being arrested on the property of an Austin, Minnesota business April 10. In addition to the test refusal charge, authorities have brought charges of felony DWI, and two misdemeanor offenses alleging driving after revocation and fleeing an officer on foot.

Police responded to the area outside property owned by Hormel on April 10 to investigate a report of an alleged erratic driver. Police reportedly found an abandoned car. A witness claims that a man jumped a fence onto the Hormel property. Police believe that a 23-year-old man found on the property crashed the car and ran to hide after the wreck. But the car does not belong to the 23-year-old. Authorities claim that the suspect had a car key for the vehicle in his possession.

Police say that when the man was discovered hiding on the property, law enforcement shined a flashlight on him and he ran off, apparently leading to the fleeing accusation. The man reportedly has prior DWI convictions on his record, and authorities have charged him with a felony level offense, based upon his prior record. Austin Police claim that the man refused to submit to an alcohol test during the drunk driving investigation.

Generally, Minnesota statutes make it a crime to refuse an alcohol test under the implied consent law. Minnesota law says that a driver impliedly consents to an alcohol test if found driving with probable cause for law enforcement to believe that the driver is impaired.

Followers of this blog may recognize that the United States Supreme Court ruled last week that warrantless DWI tests are unconstitutional. Minnesota DWI defense lawyers say that the high court ruling requiring a warrant arguably makes the concept of implied consent a thing of the past. A binding appellate ruling on that matter has not yet been made.

Source: Austin Daily Herald, “DWI suspect faces charges, has prior convictions,” Matt Peterson, April 13, 2013

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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