April 2024

IMPLIED CONSENT: TROOPER’S STATEMENT THAT “REFUSAL TO TAKE A TEST IS A CRIME” COMPLIED WITH ADVISORY REQUIREMENTS

Respondent was arrested for DWI and police obtained a warrant for a sample of Respondent’s blood or urine. A trooper showed the warrant to Respondent, but Respondent did not review it. The trooper told Respondent she had applied for a warrant for a blood test and that “refusal to take a test is a crime.” Respondent complied and a blood test showed the presence of methadone, for which he had a valid prescription. His driving privileges were revoked, and the revocation was sustained by the district court. The court of appeals reversed, finding the advisory was inaccurate and misleading.

The parties offer differing interpretation of Minn. Stat. § 171.177, subd. 1, which provides that “[a]t the time a blood or urine test is directed pursuant to a search warrant…, the person must be informed that refusal to submit to a blood or urine test is a crime.” The Commissioner argues that this subdivision generally requires that a driver be informed that “refusal to take a test is a crime.” Respondent argues that a driver must be informed that they can refuse a blood or urine test and that it is a crime only if they refuse both types of test, which is the substance of section 171.177, subd. 2. The Supreme Court rejects Respondent’s interpretation as unreasonable, contrary to the Legislature’s failure to refer to subdivision 2 in the advisory requirement of subdivision 1, and essentially granting a driver the choice between a blood or urine test, a decision subdivision 2 gives to law enforcement.

Reversed and remanded to the Court of Appeals for consideration of the remaining issues raised by Respondent. Nash v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, A22-1238, 2024 WL 1546460 (Minn. Sup. Ct. Apr. 10, 2024).

Contact