A recent story out of Woodbury, Minnesota poses interesting legal and factual questions in the area of Minnesota’s driving while impaired and implied consent laws. Police claim that a 23-year-old Wright County man was driving in the Washington County, Minnesota community when a Woodbury Police officer conducted a traffic stop.
Law enforcement claims that garage break-ins in the area had police on edge and a Woodbury resident reportedly called authorities to report a suspicious person. Law enforcement made an investigatory stop of the 23-year-old South Haven, Minnesota man, shortly after 1:30 in the morning on May 13–apparently linked to the alleged suspicious person report.
Police ultimately arrested the man on suspicion of DWI and hauled him into the jail. Law enforcement apparently requested that the man supply a urine sample as police sought evidence to support their suspicion of DWI. Authorities claim that the man complied with the request and urinated into a cup.
But, police claim that instead of turning over the cup, the man drank his urine sample and the preservative that law enforcement places in the vial in DWI urine tests.
Authorities say that the man will likely be charged with second-degree test refusal related to his consumption of the urine sample.
Generally, each state controls its own DWI laws. Under current Minnesota law, law enforcement essentially is given the choice to seek a breath, blood or urine sample to seek evidence of impairment in a DWI investigation. But, unlike many other states, Minnesota law makes it a crime to refuse to take a DWI test under the implied consent theory.
We have been discussing the issue of the warrant requirement in Minnesota driving while impaired investigations in recent posts in a number of ways. Followers of this blog must recognize that the recent United States Supreme Court ruling in the McNeely case says that law enforcement generally needs to obtain a warrant to search for evidence of impairment through a blood sample during a routine DWI investigation to comply with constitutional principles.
Minnesota DWI defense lawyers say that the DWI ruling in the McNeely case logically makes Minnesota’s coerced consent unconstitutional, including in cases involving charges of DWI test refusal. The issue has not made it up the appellate ladder since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the warrant requirement of the U.S. Constitution applies to routine DWI cases.
Source: Woodbury Patch, “Woodbury Police: Man Drinks Own Urine Sample,” Kris Janisch, May 17, 2013