Minnesota Requires Warrant for Blood Tests in DUI Cases


Getting blood drawn can be a traumatic experience for those who loathe needles-the very thought of getting shots makes many cringe. Most people, though, don't require a warrant for their blood to be drawn. Unless, that is, they're Minnesota residents under suspicion of DUI.

A Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled last week that police officers cannot take blood samples from people suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) without a warrant, unless both probable cause and special circumstances are in evidence, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

The decision reportedly came after the pretrial hearing of a woman arrested under suspicion of DUI. In that hearing, judges threw out blood evidence indicating illegal blood alcohol content (BAC) because police had obtained it without her permission, a move that her defense lawyer allegedly deemed "improper."

Because the woman was near a hospital, uninjured, and at no risk of having her BAC fall below the legal limit before a warrant could be obtained, the article reports, there were no "special" circumstances. The ruling indicates that police should have respected her Fourth Amendment rights.

In the woman's case, the evidence obtained from the blood sample was thrown out, and two charges were dropped, according to the Star-Tribune. In future cases, Minnesota police will be required to obtain permission or warrants before administering blood tests to DUI suspects.

Though the judges ultimately ruled in the woman's favor, the decision was not unanimous, sources say. According to the Tribune, Judge Bruce Willis, who penned the dissenting opinion, insists that this decision will create serious obstacles for police officers, requiring unnecessary amounts of extra legwork when they're investigating.

Willis apparently went so far as to call the warrant requirement an "impossible burden" for police to meet.

This ruling certainly raises important questions. Even the woman's defense attorney reportedly admitted that, because of her appearance of intoxication, there was "probable cause" to test her blood. But without her consent, he stipulated, the withdrawal should not have been done.

This is an extremely significant ruling for DUI cases. Sources indicate that some experts say the decision will more than likely be appealed. In the past, most courts have ruled that the appearance of intoxication ("reasonable suspicion" of drunkenness) is enough to validate a blood test.

In the meantime, however, Minnesota residents should be aware of their rights.

» Back to DUI Articles

PAID ATTORNEY ADVERTISEMENT: THIS WEB SITE IS A GROUP ADVERTISEMENT AND THE PARTICIPATING ATTORNEYS ARE INCLUDED BECAUSE THEY PAY AN ADVERTISING FEE. It is not a lawyer referral service or prepaid legal services plan. Total DUI is not a law firm.  Your request for contact will be forwarded to the local lawyer who has paid to advertise in the ZIP code you provide. Total DUI does not endorse or recommend any lawyer or law firm who participates in the network nor does it analyze a person's legal situation when determining which participating lawyers receive a person's inquiry. It does not make any representation and has not made any judgment as to the qualifications, expertise or credentials of any participating lawyer. The information contained herein is not legal advice. No representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers. Any information you submit to Total DUI does not create an attorney-client relationship and may not be protected by attorney-client privilege. Do not use the form to submit confidential, time-sensitive, or privileged information. All photos are of models and do not depict clients. All case evaluations are performed by participating attorneys. An attorney responsible for the content of this Site is Kevin W. Chern, Esq., licensed in Illinois with offices at 25 East Washington, Suite 400, Chicago, Illinois 60602. To see the attorney in your area who is responsible for this advertisement, please click here or call 866-200-8052.

FLORIDA ONLY: Total DUI is considered a lawyer referral service in the state of Florida under the Florida Rules of Professional Conduct. By all other standards, Total DUI is a group advertisement and not a lawyer referral service.

If you live in Mississippi, Missouri, New York or Wyoming, please click here for additional information.