Another Minnesota Judge Concludes DWI Breath Test Was Coerced

Posted On December 12, 2013 by Daniel Koewler

If you're a regular reader of our blog, you know that we previously discussed the role of judges in our criminal justice system. Sometimes, this role entails suppressing evidence and dismissing DWI charges because the State violated a defendant's constitutional rights.

Prosecutors around the state are now tasked with proving that every blood, breath and urine test was taken with the "free and voluntary consent" of the driver. If those prosecutors cannot convince a judge that the driver truly consented - if the judge instead finds that the driver was coerced - the test results are inadmissible in court.

Today we were provided with another order suppressing DWI breath test results because the driver was coerced. This is another example of a judge suppressing the results of a DWI test after the Minnesota Supreme Court issued the Brooks decision (notably, Brooks is a decision that will likely be appealed to the United States Supreme Court).

We discussed the implications of the Brooks decision when it was released, noting the questions that the Minnesota Supreme Court left unanswered. One question was "what happens if a driver is told he is required to submit to a test, but never has the chance to speak to an attorney?" In this most recent suppression order, the court concluded that this driver was coerced. If you've been charged with a DWI, did you feel like you had no choice but to submit to testing? Like you were being coerced into agreeing to submit to a test?

You can read the full order here.