Blood and Urine Testing Following a Minneapolis DWI Arrest
When the police suspect a motorist of impairment, their investigation in a Minneapolis DWI Arrest frequently involves a chemical test to measure that person’s blood alcohol concentration or BAC. For most people, this involves a breathalyzer test to measure the volume of alcohol in the bloodstream. However, there are other ways for the police to collect a sample.
In addition to breath testing, the police also frequently measure the BAC of a driver through urine or blood samples. This form of testing requires additional steps by police, but the results are often enough to secure a conviction for DWI.
If you have been subjected to a blood or urine test in a DWI case, it is important to speak to an attorney. The attorneys of Gerald Miller could advise you on whether you have a defense to your charges based on the way the police collected or tested your sample. Reach out today to learn more from an experienced defense attorney.
Do Drivers Have to Submit Blood or Urine Tests in a Minneapolis DWI Arrest?
Drivers in Minnesota must submit to blood or urine tests in some cases according to the state’s implied consent law. Every state has some form of “implied consent” law, which means that every motorist gives implied consent to submit to chemical testing when they are suspected of driving while impaired.
Implied consent does not mean the state can force you to submit to a breath or blood test—at least not without a warrant. What it means is that if you fail to provide a sample when requested, you are in violation of the implied consent laws and could face additional criminal consequences. These criminal charges are in addition to any DWI charges you might face. Implied consent laws apply to blood, breath, or urine tests.
Who Selects the Type of Blood Test in a DWI Case?
With more than one testing option available, it is important to understand who has the right to select the type of blood test collected in a DWI case. In Minnesota, the arresting officer has the ability to choose the type of test: blood, breath, or urine. However, there are some caveats.
Police can request and administer breath tests easily in most cases. However, there are some limitations that come with blood or urine tests. Medical professionals must collect blood or urine samples, and there are different rules on storing or testing these samples as well.
In the end, the police will typically rely on breath testing in most DWI cases. This is true for a few reasons. For starters, many police officers are licensed to perform this type of test. The equipment needed for breath testing is also present at most police stations. Without the need to rely on medical professionals for help, breath testing is often the fastest and simplest method available to law enforcement. Speed is also important, given that your BAC will steadily drop over time.
However, there are also times when the police choose blood or urine testing for a reason. Some people are unable to provide a breath sample due to medical issues. Others might simply refuse to comply. In these cases, drawing blood might be the only option available to the police.
Choosing a Second Type of Test in Minneapolis
When you are arrested for DWI, the police have the right to determine the type of chemical test you submit to. However, the law also gives you the chance to request a second type of test. For example, if the police require you to submit a blood test, you have the rest to an additional breath or urine test as well.
This right is outlined by Minnesota Statute Section 169A.51. However, there are some conditions that must be met. First, the sample must be taken at the location where you are already in custody. Second, the test must not come at any cost to the state. If you want a blood test, you will be required to pay for the costs associated with collecting that sample. Finally, this test must occur after you have already submitted the primary sample required by law enforcement.
The police have to give you an opportunity to secure a second test, but they are under no obligation to advise you on how to proceed. The police will not take you to another facility or provide you with contacts that can help you with the process of getting a second sample taken.
Is a Warrant Necessary?
The police have the right to opt for a blood or urine test in a DWI case, but the law treats blood samples differently. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a blood draw is an invasive medical procedure and that a warrant is necessary before the police can perform one.
This case—known as Missouri vs. McNeely—upended the precedent that implied consent laws alone allow the police to obtain blood tests in a DWI case. The Supreme Court determined that physically removing something from the body of another person was invasive enough that a warrant was necessary.
Who Can Take a Blood Sample in Minneapolis?
There are limitations on who can collect a blood sample during the course of a DWI investigation. Unlike a breath test, a blood sample is an invasive medical procedure that requires a certain degree of training. In these cases, the police are required to have a registered nurse draw the blood sample under their supervision. A blood sample drawn by an unauthorized party cannot be used in a criminal case—no matter how high the BAC might be in the sample.
Building a Defense Against Blood or Urine Samples
If you have been charged with DWI based on the results of a blood or urine sample, you might have a number of defense strategies to pursue. In many cases, it might be possible for your attorney to have the results of your blood or urine test excluded at trial.
The exclusion of these test results could be pivotal in the outcome of your case. Often, the state relies heavily on results that show your BAC above the legal limit at the time of driving. In many cases, this is the only evidence the state can offer that you were impaired.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand what it takes to challenge unlawful or compromised blood or urine tests. Let a DWI defense attorney from our firm help you challenge the test in your case.
Refusal for Second Test
Your right to a second type of test is enshrined in state law. When the police refuse to allow you to submit a second type of sample, they are violating your rights. It is possible for your attorney to pursue a motion to exclude the results of the first test submitted by the police. If this is the bulk of the state’s case against you, it might force the prosecutor to drop the charges against you.
There are steps the police must take to store and transfer blood or urine samples. If these samples are not preserved properly, it could result in a false positive test result. For this reason, improperly stored samples should not be used as evidence.
Chain of Custody
Lab technicians are needed to test blood or urine samples. This requires the police to submit these samples to a lab outside of their direct control. To ensure the sample are properly handled, the state must track the chain of custody of this evidence. Any break in the chain could result in the evidence being suppressed.
Talk to Gerald Miller About Your DWI Case in Minneapolis
Blood and urine testing are frequently part of DWI cases in Minneapolis. However, the state is required to comply with certain guidelines when they collect or test these samples. Any failure to comply with the law could result in the results of those tests being unusable in court.
An attorney could help you develop a winning defense strategy in your DWI case based on the use of blood or urine testing. If the state failed to follow the guideline set out in the law, the results of those tests could be barred from court. The attorneys of Gerald Miller understand how to challenge test results and fight for acquittals. Contact us today to get started.
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