State v. Phillips - Do Minnesota's DWI Laws Violate Due Process?

Posted On March 13, 2017 Daniel Koewler

It's a hot question in Minnesota right now, and many DWI appeals have been placed on hold pending the answer. The question? "Does it violate a driver's Due Process rights to tell them 'refusal to take a test is a crime' when that 'crime' was recently found to be unconstitutional?"

We were heavily involved with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to find Minnesota's blood test refusal law unconstitutional, and were also the attorneys who convinced the Minnesota Supreme Court to rule that our urine test refusal law was unconstitutional. Even then, before Minnesota's test refusal laws were struck down, we were looking to the future consequences of such a ruling, leading us to repeatedly point out on our blog that not only was the test refusal law unconstitutional, but tests taken upon threat of being prosecuted for an unconstitutional crime were also causing additional constitutional violations

Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court was asked to answer that question, meaning that we'll soon know whether or not the hundreds (or more) of DWI cases that are currently on hold will result in convictions . . . or dismissals. It's an important question, and the answer will not only result in immediate action for-or-against a lot of pending DWI cases, but will also set the stage for future litigation. It's our hope that the highest Court in Minnesota will say "no" to the practice of threatening citizens with crimes that are not even constitutional, and suppressing evidence that was collected as a result of those baseless threats, but only time will tell if that's how the Court rules. 

Check back often, we'll release the final order on this matter as soon as it is released (our best guess is that the order will be issued sometime after May 1, 2017). 

Daniel Koewler