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S.F. No. 2375 - DWI Law Changes (First Engrossment)
Author: Senator Warren Limmer
Prepared By: Kenneth P. Backhus, Senate Counsel (651/296-4396)
Date: May 17, 2017



S.F. No. 2375 addresses recent United States and Minnesota Supreme Court decisions that require search warrants for blood and urine testing of individuals suspected of DWI crimes.  The bill establishes a new section (article 1, section 10) addressing driver’s license revocations based on refusal to comply with a warrant for blood or urine testing, or failing a test performed pursuant to a warrant, and amends existing DWI and DWI-related statutes in response to those court decisions.  It also adds an affirmative defense in the implied consent law for using Schedule I or II prescription drugs according to a valid prescription, and changes the time frame within which one must request a judicial hearing to contest an implied consent-related loss of license.

Article 1 – DWI Law Changes

Section 1 amends the definition of “prior impaired driving-related loss of license” to include a driver’s license revoked pursuant to a search warrant for a blood or urine test under section 10.

Section 2 specifically makes refusal to submit to a blood or urine test pursuant to a search warrant a crime.

Section 3 removes references to blood and urine tests, and to the presence of controlled or hazardous substances, from the advisory that must be given to individuals before they can be required, without a warrant, to take a breath test to determine if they were driving under the influence of alcohol.

Section 4 states that under the DWI law, blood or urine tests may be conducted only pursuant to a search warrant or a judicially recognized exception to the search warrant requirement.

Section 5 permits blood or urine tests to be conducted pursuant to a search warrant where there is probable cause to believe that the person is unconscious or incapacitated  to the point that the person is unable to comprehend an advisory or otherwise voluntarily submit to testing.

Sections 6 and 9 extend the time frame from 30 to 60 days to judicially challenge an implied consent driver’s license revocation or a plate impoundment order.

Section 7 adds an affirmative defense to implied consent proceedings for individuals who violated the law based on having a Schedule I or II controlled substance in their body pursuant to a valid prescription.  (This affirmative defense already applies to criminal proceedings but not implied consent proceedings.)

Section 8 applies the provision in current law that specifies a shorter driver’s license revocation period for certain first time offenders to persons revoked under section 10.

Section 10 creates a new section of law providing for driver's license revocations for persons suspected of a DWI and who fail or refuse to submit to blood or urine tests pursuant to a search warrant.  For the most part, this new section of law mimics existing law (including amendments made in this article) currently applicable to any type of chemical test.  This section requires peace officers who execute warrants for the collection of blood or urine samples in a suspected DWI to certify to the Commissioner of Public Safety when suspects refuse to submit to tests or provide samples that exceed the legal limits.  Establishes license revocation standards and administrative and judicial review procedures for blood and urine tests that largely mirror the existing standards and procedures for test refusal and failure in the implied consent law, but include specific provisions related to the warrant requirement.  Provides for a prescription drug affirmative defense and a 60-day period to judicially challenge a revocation consistent with the changes made to the implied consent law in sections 6 and 7. Requires that an advisory be given to a person subjected to a test and allows the person the option of an alternative test.

Article 2 – Conforming Changes

This article makes conforming changes to the hunting while impaired law (sections 1 to 6) (of note, these provisions apply also to the snowmobiling, ATVing, and motorboating while impaired laws), flying while impaired law (sections 7 to 11), and possessing firearms while impaired law (sections 12 to 15), consistent with the changes made to the DWI laws in article 1.  In addition, the article contains (section 16) a revisor’s instruction to ensure that necessary cross-referencing changes are made to statutes consistent with this bill.


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