Earlier in the year, the United States Supreme Court deemed warrantless blood tests to be unconstitutional. Now, the Minnesota Supreme Court has taken things a step further and has made the same ruling regarding warrantless urine tests within the state. The decision prevents police officers from demanding urine tests from people who have been arrested or detained for suspicion of driving while intoxicated (DWI), and it removes the criminal charges that could be triggered by a urine test refusal.
Your Right to Your Body’s Privacy
As with the blood test ruling by the greater U.S. Supreme Court, the Minnesota Supreme Court cited that urine tests were incredibly invasive. It actually stated that urine tests were much more invasive than blood tests since the suspect had to complete a “private bodily” function on-demand and in front of a stranger. When put in such simple terms, it is hard to argue against that logic.
People completing a urine test were also essentially forced to reveal intimate details of their own health and personal life to investigators. Urine samples can reveal a myriad of issues, including whether or not someone is pregnant, epileptic, or carrying a sexually-transmitted disease. Since none of that information is useful in a DWI investigation, there is no reason to force someone to reveal it.
Furthermore, the presence of readily available, totally nonintrusive breath tests makes urine tests largely unnecessary. Breath tests can be just as accurate as a blood or urine test and only require someone to do something they do literally all the time: exhale oxygen. Breath tests also only reveal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level and nothing more, such as what diseases the suspect may have.
It is believed that there will be no detriment to public safety following the elimination of mandatory urine testing. Also, the increased use of near-instant, electronic warrants makes it fairly easy for law enforcement to obtain a warrant when they actually need to perform a detailed search and seizure.
For more information regarding the recent ruling, the Star Tribune has posted an online article here that you can read. If you have been arrested or convicted of a DWI that you believe was based on an unconstitutional urine test, contact our Minneapolis criminal defense attorneys from The Law Office of Brockton D. Hunter, P.A. We are led by Attorney Hunter, who has been selected to the Minnesota Super Lawyers® list for six years in a row, consistently ranking him in the top 5% of attorneys in the state.