Breaking News: Minnesota's DWI Test Refusal Law Is Unconstitutional

Posted On October 13, 2015 by Charles Ramsay

You didn't misread that headline - the Minnesota Court of Appeals just ruled that Minnesota's DWI test refusal law is unconstitutional. It is almost a certainty that this case will be appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court (and possibly beyond).

You can read the decision yourself by clicking this link right here.

By way of brief background - this case (State v. Trahan) was already in front of the Minnesota Supreme Court earlier this year. After the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Minnesota's DWI Test Refusal law was "sometimes" constitutional (if the officer asked for a breath test) the Court sent the Trehan case back to the Court of Appeals to decide whether or not the test refusal law was also constitutional in cases where the officer asked for a blood test or a urine test. We now have our answer, the same answer we were predicting earlier this year - and that answer is "nope, the test refusal law is unconstitutional."

It's hard to predict what the future holds, but right now, it appears that in MInnesota:

1. drivers can be convicted of the crime of refusal if they refuse to submit to a breath test

2. drivers cannot be convicted of the crime of refusal if they refuse to submit to a blood test, and

3. it is unclear whether it is constitutional to charge someone with refusal if they refuse to submit to a urine test.

We'll provide some additional analysis and insight soon, so stay tuned!