Max Keller of Keller Law Offices’ motion to dismiss a 3rd degree DUI Refusal in violation of Minnesota Statute 169A.20 Subdivision 2 was granted in Cottonwood County. A cottonwood county district court judge dismissed the refusal charge last month. Our client was charged with 3rd Degree DUI refusal and 4th Degree driving under the influence. The United States constitution and Minnesota Constitution holds that people have the right to be secure in their persons, houses, paper and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures. The Minnesota Constitution also holds that warrantless searches and seizures are per se unreasonable, subject to recognized exceptions such as a search conducted pursuant to consent.
Our client did not consent to a urine or blood test. He was asked whether he would like to take a blood test and he said no. He was then asked whether he would agree to take a urine test and he also said no. The State was unable to provide the court with an exception to the request for the warrantless draw of blood. The state tried to argue the search incident to arrest exception to the search warrant requirement. The criminal defense attorneys at Keller Law Offices pointed out and argued that the Trahan and Thompson Cases held that the request for a warrantless blood or urine test was unconstitutional. Keller Law Offices was successful in their argument.
The Trahan case involved a driver who got pulled over and was arrested for a DUI. He was offered a blood or urine test and he agreed to provide a urine sample. The officer believed that his sample was tampered with an asked him to take a blood test which he refused. He was charged with refusal and appealed. Trahan argued that the test-refusal statute violated his right to due process by criminalizing his refusal to submit to a warrantless test of his blood. The appellate court held that the test refusal statute violated his right to substantive due process by criminalizing his refusal of an unconstitutional search. The court held that a warrantless blood test would not be allowed under the search incident to arrest exception and that there was nothing preventing the police from seeking a warrant before obtaining a blood sample.
In Thompson the driver was pulled over and arrested. The driver refused a blood and urine test and also argued to the appellate court that the test refusal statute violated his substantive due process rights under the constitution by criminalizing his refusal to submit to a warrantless blood and urine test. The court held that a warrantless urine test cannot be justified under the search incident to arrest exception. The court held that a urine test is more intrusive than a breath test.
Both the Trahan and Thompson decisions will be heard in the Minnesota Supreme Court in the first week of June this year. Stay tuned for updates on what the Minnesota Supreme Court will decide. If you have been charged with DUI test refusal, contact Keller Law Offices immediately. Contact Keller Law Office’s website at www.kellerlawoffices.com or call 952-913-1421 for a free consultation.