A Slippery Slope:BCA Implements Troubling New Policies in Response to Troubling New DWI Law

Posted On October 21, 2010 by Daniel Koewler

On July 1, 2010, the Legislature updated Minnesota's DWI laws in one troubling aspect. Before July 1, the law stated that only specific types of individuals could perform blood draws for DWI purposes - registered nurses, medical laboratory technicians and the like. These types of people work in labs and hospitals, making it likely that any blood draw would be performed by people who were both highly qualified, and working in a sterile environment.

As of July 1, Minnesota's DWI law now allows anyone who is considered a "qualified person| to draw blood. In a previous blog, we wondered if the State would use this new law to start performing roadside blood tests by under-qualified individuals. It didn't take them long to make this concern a reality.

Minnesota peace officers are now being given a 40 hour course that will supposedly |qualify| them to perform blood draws. That's 8 hours of online training, and 32 hours of |lab exercises| before they can begin sticking needles into Minnesota drivers. Forty hours of training, versus obtaining a certification that can take years . . .

We predict that we'll soon begin to meet with clients who were arrested because an officer suspected them of driving while intoxicated, and then stuck them with a needle right there on the hood of the squad car. And we're already planning on ways to highlight just how unconstitutionally coercive and outright shocking such behavior is.

At this rate, how far are we from allowing vitreous eye fluid tests for intoxication? This is definitely an area of law that bears careful watching.