What began as a routine traffic stop in 2010 worked its way up to the United States Supreme Court in 2013. Today, we'll take a deeper look at the case of Missouri vs. Tyler G. McNeely, warrantless blood testing and what it means in Minnesota.
Missouri vs. McNeely
On October 3, 2010, patrolman Mark Winder stopped McNeely for speeding. During that stop, Winder felt McNeely showed signs of intoxication. After McNeely performed poorly on field sobriety tests, Winder arrested him for driving while intoxicated. McNeely refused a breathalyzer and Winder transported him to the local hospital.
At the hospital, Winder instructed staff to draw blood from McNeely despite McNeely's refusal to such a test. The result of the test was a blood-alcohol level of .154, nearly twice the legal level of .08.
The case in court
In court McNeely argued that the unapproved blood draw violated his Fourth Amendment rights (protecting against unlawful search and seizure). The state of Missouri argued that the evidence, the blood-alcohol level in McNeely's blood was dissipating in his blood stream and that evidence would be further destroyed in the time required to obtain a search warrant.
The Missouri Supreme Court sided with McNeely, saying officers were ‘not justified' in having McNeely's blood drawn against his wishes and that they should have obtained a warrant.
The case moved on to the United States Supreme Court where once again, the Court ruled that a search warrant should have been acquired before any blood was drawn.
What is the law in Minnesota?
In 2008, in the case of State v. Shriner, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that dissipating alcohol in a defendant's blood causes a “single-factor exigent circumstance” and ruled that this circumstance allowed for a warrantless, non-consensual blood draw. Minnesota's implied consent law also states that a driver has given implied consent for breath, urine or blood alcohol testing by possessing a driver's license. The McNeely ruling overturns Minnesota precedent. If you have been charged with a DWI/DUI, contact Olson Law Firm to discuss how the McNeely ruling could impact your case.
To learn more about DWI and DUI law in the state of Minnesota, contact criminal defense attorney Eric J. Olson for a vigorous defense and unrivaled results.
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