Minnesota Supreme Court Rules Minnesota DWI Test Refusal Law Unconstitutional

Posted On October 12, 2016 by Charles Ramsay

Today the Minnesota Supreme Court issued two long-awaited decisions dealing with the future of Minnesota's DWI laws.

The first was State v. Thompson, where Ramsay Law Firm argued that Minnesota's DWI Test Refusal law is unconstitutional as applied to any demand for a urine sample. The Supreme Court agreed with us, and struck down the law as unconstitutional. (Click that link for a copy of the Thompson order).

The second was State v. Trahan, where the Supreme Court addressed the concept of "exigent circumstances" -- basically, when are circumstances so difficult that law enforcement can skip the warrant process entirely and simply take a blood or urine sample from a driver. In that case, the Supreme Court made it clear that the State cannot assume that every DWI case has exigent circumstances, and it will take some very special facts in order to actually prove that there was "no time to get a warrant." (click that link for a copy of the Trahan order).

We're very happy to have won this case; it's an issue we've been fighting for over a decade. The only question remaining (with respect to Minnesota's DWI Test Refusal law) is whether or not the State of Minnesota will try to appeal this decision to the United States Supreme Court. Barring further appeal, the constitutionality of Minnesota's DWI laws is now much more settled than it has been for years.

Daniel Koewler