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Minnesota and the constitutionality of forced blood tests

It should go without saying that all states approach drunk driving and intoxication differently. Every part of the United States is able to have its own rules and regulations that vary in some way from the federal guidelines for intoxication. Across the board, a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 is the legal limit, but the way those who are stopped for drunk driving are treated is very different depending on where you are.

Interestingly, the Supreme Court can step in if it feels a state has an inappropriate law or takes unconstitutional action against people there. That's what's happening in Minnesota.

Minnesota, for example, is one of only a few states that makes it a criminal offense to refuse to take a blood test if you're suspected of drunk driving. In fact, the police don't even need a warrant if they take a breath test. However, a recent ruling does now require the police to obtain a warrant for a blood or urine sample to be taken. So, if police request that of you and state they don't need a warrant, that's incorrect.

It's also questionable if it's constitutional to make it an offense to refuse a BAC test. The United States Supreme Court will be looking at this law in the state and deciding if the law is fair to those who may be stopped by police. The ruling is expected in June 2016, but that's also affecting current DUI cases. In fact, many judges won't hear them until the ruling, because it could be that those who were made to give samples had their constitutional rights violated, leading to further legal complications.

Source: Fox 9, "2016 begins with DWI law uncertainty in Minnesota," Ted Haller, accessed Jan. 28, 2016

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