Victimization via Vampire: New Legislative Changes to the DWI Law

Posted On April 15, 2010 by Daniel Koewler

Minnesota uses three types of chemical test to investigate DWI cases. There are breath tests on the Intoxilyzer 5000EN. Then Minnesota has its unique take on urine testing. The third type of test is the blood test; a type of test used in nearly every state for DWI prosecutions and considered the "gold standard| with respect to value as evidence.

Despite the massive problems with the Intoxilyzer, and the overwhelming criticism of its urine testing regime, the Minnesota Legislature passed a bill and signed into law by Governor Pawlenty, seriously undermining its last, best chance at equitably enforcing our DWI laws. Starting July 1, 2010, it appears that almost anyone a police officer chooses can draw a driver's blood - not just registered nurses, EMTs, and the other specifically listed persons currently authorized by statute. The law protects them from civil suit if they were to cause infection or other injury.

This is troubling for numerous reasons, the least of which is the fact that blood draws, if improperly performed, can be painful, traumatic, and can transfer infectious diseases. Moreover, the current law is likely unconstitutional.

Currently, blood tests for evidentiary purposes are deemed constitutional - but not by much. In the Supreme Court case that first authorized these types of blood draws, the Court clearly explained that such a test is only reasonable where it is |taken by a physician in a hospital environment according to accepted medical practices. We are thus not presented with the serious questions that would arise is a search . . . were made by other than medical personnel or in other than a medical environment.|

Police officers with limited training have routinely drawn blood in Cottage Grove, Woodbury and a few other jurisdictions. We expect that to expand. Soon, that Supreme Court's warning 45 years ago will be ignored, at least in Minnesota. The Legislature just legalized a practice that has opened the door to roadside blood tests by officers. Instead of blood drawn |in a hospital environment according to accepted medical practices,| we fully expect cops to routinely suck drivers' blood on the hood of a filthy squad car at the side of the road. Rest assured, we plan on fighting this law at the first available opportunity.

At Ramsay Results, part of our job is to keep current on the latest changes in the law, so that we can effectively represent our clients. If you're arrested for a DWI - especially if the arrest involves a blood test - contact Ramsay Law Firm immediately.

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