In mid-September, the Minnesota Supreme Court heard arguments as to whether law enforcement officers need to have a search warrant in order to take blood samples from people who are suspected to have driven while intoxicated. The court hasn’t announced yet when it expects to reach a decision on the matter.
This has become an issue because Stearns County and the city of St. Cloud have recently begun demanding that officers get such warrants. Previously, it had been believed that driving on public roads constituted “implied consent” to things like blood samples, should they be necessary.
Critics of that school of thought have argued that forcing a person to give a blood sample is a violation of the Constitution’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.
As a Minneapolis DWI lawyer, I will be watching this case with interest. The court’s decision could have very great implications for criminal law matters in our state.
While I believe public safety is vitally important and think that law enforcement officers should have a reasonable amount of freedom to do their jobs, I also believe that each individual’s personal integrity and freedom from unwarranted government intrusion is crucial. Much of our criminal justice system is carefully sculpted with an eye toward respecting the individual’s rights, and I think that is a value that Americans have long cherished.