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Minnesota Supreme Court Rules Some DWI Refusal Convictions Must Be Vacated!

On August 22, 2018, the Minnesota Supreme Court held, in State v. Johnson, that some Minnesota DWI Refusal Convictions which are based upon the failure to submit to a blood or urine test must be vacated.  Convictions for refusal to submit to a data master breath test are not effected by the Supreme Courts ruling.

The reason  the blood or urine test refusals are invalid is that in 2016, the United States Supreme Court held, in Birchfield v. North Dakota, that blood and urine tests could not be obtained from a person under arrest for DWI unless the police first got a search warrant for the blood or urine sample.

The Birchfield Court held that since a warrant is required for blood or urine samples, the State cannot criminalize the refusal to submit to testing where the police have asked for the sample but did not seek a search warrant.

The Johnson case is huge as it means that anyone who was convicted of refusing to submit to a blood or urine test can now get their DWI Refusal conviction vacated.  The conviction can be thrown out by bringing a petition for post conviction relief.

Minnesota Statute § 590 generally requires that all post-conviction petitions be brought within two years of the final conviction.  But where, as here, the Minnesota Supreme Court has declared a new “substantive” rule, the petition may be brought at any time!! It also appears that a prior refusal conviction based upon the failure to submit to a blood or urine test could be challenged if the prior refusal conviction is being used to enhance a current offense with the use of the prior conviction.

If you or a loved one have a Minnesota DWI Refusal conviction on your record and you want to have it vacated, call Minnesota DWI Super Lawyer F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 today!