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What are the limits to implied consent?

Many drivers may not know (or understand) Minnesota’s implied consent rules when it comes to seeking evidence in DWI cases. Basically, law enforcement agencies have a right to compel a driver who has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol to produce a sample of bodily fluid that may be tested to detect alcohol or other illegal substances.

So when an arrested driver is brought to a police station, the driver has a choice of taking a breathalyzer test, providing a urine sample or taking a blood test. If the driver refuses, he or she could be charged with a crime under a state’s implied consent law. 

But like any law, there are limits and exceptions that apply to the implied consent, especially when a driver cannot actually consent. However, some police officers may not realize this and unlawfully arrest people.

The video of a Salt Lake City detective arresting an emergency room nurse has gone viral for this reason. The officer demanded that the nurse draw blood from an unconscious driver and the nurse refused because the driver could not consent. Citing hospital policy and state law, the nurse stood her ground until the officer forcibly removed her from the hospital and arrested her.

Although the nurse was eventually released without charges, many people are victimized by illegal, warrantless searches. This type of breach of privacy rights can be incredibly important if criminal charges are levied.

If you believe that your constitutional rights were violated by an illegal search, an experienced criminal defense attorney can advise you. 

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