Victory At The Court of Appeals: Many Blood and Urine Cases Violate Due Process

Posted On November 07, 2016 by Jay Adkins

The Minnesota Court of Appeals released an opinion this morning that will affect many blood and urine DWI cases. The court's holding states that it is a violation of a driver's due process rights if they are told refusal to take a blood or urine test is a crime--as those crimes have been held to be unconstitutional. Due to the violation, the driver was given his license back.

While this result seems to come down to common sense, and frankly it really does, the State of Minnesota's argument was that the threat of a criminal charge was made before the refusal laws were found to be unconstitutional. Essentially, they are saying "it was true at the time it was read." However, as we blogged about multiple times, the underlying rulings are retroactive, meaning they apply to cases that occurred before the decisions were made; it is as if the refusal laws were never on the books.

In making its decision today, the Court of Appeals correctly applied this well-understood principle. Minnesota's refusal crimes for blood and urine cases are unconstitutional, and therefore, were always unconstitutional, and telling a driver otherwise, violated due process. Here is the full opinion if you would like to read it.

Today's decision is published, meaning it can be cited as authority. We have three additional cases to be decided on this issue and will provide updates as those come in.

Daniel Koewler