Court: No right to notice before suspension of driving privileges

Three people arrested for DWI in separate incidents in Minnesota have lost their claim that they didn’t get proper notice before their driving privileges were revoked.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals today reversed a lower court ruling that because the letter from the Department of Public Safety arrived at their homes six days before the date their privileges would be revoked, their driver’s licenses should not be revoked.

In each case, the letters were mailed 10 days before the licenses were to be revoked.

Some people who get their licenses immediately revoked for DWI are eligible for a seven-day temporary license, but the Court of Appeals noted there’s no such provision for people who voluntarily submitted to field sobriety tests, as these three did.

It is true that a licensee who refuses a peace officer’s demand to submit to a

chemical test, or who submits to a test the results of which immediately indicate an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more, is subject to immediate revocation of his driver’s license and the issuance of a temporary, seven-day license by the peace officer. Minn. Stat. § 169A.52, subd. 7. But respondents were not facing immediate revocation. Instead, they submitted to fluid testing and waited weeks or months for a revocation notice to come in the mail from the commissioner. A notice of revocation mailed by the commissioner is deemed received three days after being mailed.

The Court of Appeals noted today’s ruling only states that there is no right of a seven-day notice in license suspensions, and invited the Minnesota Supreme Court to consider how much notice people should receive when losing driving privileges.

Full opinion here.