Court: Refusing to submit to drunk-driving test implies guilt

If you’re arrested for drunk driving and refuse to submit to chemical testing on constitutional grounds, you’re out of luck in Minnesota, the Court of Appeals ruled today.

Ruling in the case of a Lakeville man, the Minnesota Court of Appeals dismissed his challenge that criminalizing the chemical-test refusal violates a constitutional right to refuse to consent to a warrantless police search. It said Jason Wiseman of Lakeville enjoyed no such constitutional protection. It said Minnesota drivers drive under “implied consent” to have “his or her blood, breath, or urine chemically tested for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol.”

The court said the state “may compel an individual to stand in a lineup or wear particular clothing, or to produce incriminating nontestimonial physical evidence such as a blood sample, handwriting exemplar, or a voice exemplar, all of which require the individual’s cooperation. If an individual refuses to cooperate with such requests, it is not fundamentally unfair or a violation of due process to use the individual’s refusal as evidence of guilt.”

In saying Wiseman’s objection did not involve a “fundamental right,” the court said “impaired drivers pose a severe threat to the health and safety of motorists in Minnesota, and the state has a compelling interest in highway safety that justifies effort to keep impaired drivers off the road.”

Here’s the full opinion.