Monday, April 23, 2018

Minnesota DWI Attorney F. T. Sessoms Blogs on Minnesota DWI: This Week's Featured Minnesota DWI Case

The Minnesota DWI Case Of The Week is State v. Sherer which stands for the proposition that the police cannot lie and tell you it is a crime to refuse to submit to a warrantless blood or urine sample when, in fact, it is not a crime to refuse.

In Sherer, the Defendant was arrested for Felony DWI and was taken to the Cook County Jail for alcohol testing.  Mr. Sherer was advised that Minnesota law requires him to take a test to determine if he is under the influence of a controlled substance and that refusal to take a test is a crime. He was offered a blood or a urine test and consented to a blood test. The blood test confirmed the presence of amphetamine and methamphetamine in his system.

Mr. Sherer moved to suppress the results of the blood test, arguing that the warrantless blood draw violated the Fourth Amendment and his right to due process. The district court denied the motion to suppress and on appeal, the Minnesota Court of Appeals correctly reversed the district court noting:

"Appellant argues that, under McDonnell v. Comm 'r of Pub. Safety, 473 N. W.2d 848, 855 (Minn. 1991), and Johnson, the state violated his due-process rights when giving the implied-consent advisory by "threaten[ing] criminal charges the state was not authorized to impose." The state argues that appellant's due-process rights were not violated by the implied-consent advisory because it was accurate at the time it was given".

"During the pendency of appellant's case, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that a defendant could not be prosecuted under Minnesota's test-refusal statute for refusing to submit to a blood test, absent a warrant or exigent circumstances. State v. Trahan, 886 N.W.2d 216, 218, 224 (Minn. 2016). The supreme court extended that holding to warrantless urine tests in State v. Thompson, holding that a defendant may not be prosecuted for refusing to submit to an unconstitutional blood or urine test. 886 N.W.2d 224, 234 (Minn. 2016)."

"Following Trahan and Thompson, this court applied the reasoning of McDonnell to an implied-consent advisory that warned a driver that refusal to submit to a urine test is a crime. Johnson, 887 N.W.2d at 289. We examined whether the advisory permitted police to threaten criminal charges the state was not constitutionally permitted to impose. Id. We held that the driver's due-process rights were violated when the officer informed him that he could be subjected to criminal penalties for refusing to take a urine test, when the state would not have been authorized to impose a criminal penalty. Id. at 295. We rejected an argument that, because Thompson had not been decided at the time the advisory was given, the advisory was legally accurate at the time it was given and did not violate the driver's due-process rights."

MORAL OF THE STORY: The police cannot lie to you to obtain a test!

If you or a loved one have been charged with a Minnesota DWI, feel free to contact Minnesota DWI Attorney, F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 for answers to all of your Minnesota DWI and DUI questions.

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