Tuesday, 06 April 2010 05:30

Are the DWI Laws Constitutional?

Written by
Rate this item
(0 votes)
would seem that the fabric of Minnesota's DWI laws is slowly unraveling as new challenges are made to the laws and how they comply with constitutional protections. As a result, persons charged with DWI offenses in Minnesota have a number of viable defenses at their disposal and should ALWAYS consult with an attorney before entering any plea.

One of the major issues presently being litigated is whether Minnesota's laws unconstitutionally coerce persons arrested to provide breath, blood or urine samples for alcohol testing. As many Minnesotans are aware, when a person is arrested for suspicion of drunk driving, they are read an implied consent advisory which is a short statement of their rights. That advisory informs the driver that they have a right to consult a lawyer before submitting to any testing. However, if they refuse to submit to breath, blood or urine testing, they can be charged with a criminal offense. In fact, the criminal offense charged, which is a refusal to test, often has more severe consequences than being charged with a DWI. Specifically, a refusal may turn a misdemeanor DWI into a gross misdemeanor refusal. The former carries with it up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine, where the latter may be punished by up to 1 year in jail and a $3000 fine. Moreover, the license revocation for most first offense DWI's is generally 30 to 90 days. For a refusal, that revocation period is one year.

This is critical because challenges to the law are based upon the State and Federal constitutional protections to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The United States Constitution's Fourth Amendment guarantees "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons . . . against unreasonable searches and seizures." U.S. Const. amend. IV. The Minnesota constitution contains a parallel provision. Minn. Const. art. I,
Read 768 times
Login to post comments