A Minnesota man, Wesley Brooks, recently lost a court case in the Minnesota Supreme Court where he alleged that the blood and urine samples he provided to the police after his three arrests for driving while intoxicated (DWI) were obtained through coercion. The reason for this being that Minnesota's implied consent law states that drivers who refuse to submit to a chemical sobriety test will face criminal charges.
Brooks and his attorney argued that since he would be penalized with a criminal charge if he did not give a sample, he had no choice in the matter and feels that he was forced to submit. The police however, say that he was given a choice and chose to submit to the tests. He was never forced and was allowed to speak to his lawyer before making his decision.
The Court ultimately ruled in favor of the police department. This is an interesting case because we have seen how the Supreme Court ruled that police must have a search warrant in order to force a DUI suspect to give a blood sample. Letting a suspect choose if they want to face criminal charges or give a sample, however, is not the same thing in the eyes of the law.
Luckily, violating implied consent in California is not a criminal charge. Refusing to submit to a chemical blood, breath or urine test will result in penalties if you are convicted of DUI though. First time refusals can lead to as much as a year of license suspension.
If you are accused of DUI, make sure you understand your rights. Police must inform you of the implied consent law before you can refuse a chemical test, if you are unsure of the penalties make sure you understand before agreeing or declining a test.