First Time For Everything

Posted On June 27, 2016 by Jay Adkins

The Minnesota Court of Appeals issued a decision this morning unlike any we have previously seen from them. The court found that a DWI driver's "consent" to a blood draw was not voluntary, and thus, the test result had to be suppressed to remedy the Fourth Amendment violation. This decision reversed an order issued in Cottonwood County District Court, and is the first instance we are aware of where the Minnesota Court of Appeals found verbal consent to a DWI chemical test as involuntary, regardless of the underlying circumstances.

In the opinion, which can be read here, the Court of Appeals expressed dissatisfaction with the district court's finding that although the driver was so disoriented that it was difficult for the officers to communicate with her, she nonetheless had the capacity to voluntarily consent to the blood draw. In reversing, the court stated "[a]fter thoroughly reviewing this record, we are left with the firm conviction that [the driver]'s disoriented state rendered her incapable of voluntarily consenting to the blood draw.|

This decision also mirror's last weeks decision by the United States Supreme Court in Birchfield v. North Dakota, a.k.a. "Bernard," where SCOTUS refused to simply, and automatically, find "implied consent" as true and voluntary consent.