U.S. Supreme Court Hears Case On Minnesota’s Breath Test Law
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A Minnesota law is being argued in front of the United States Supreme Court today (Wednesday). The question is "can the state make it a crime to refuse to take an alcohol breath test during a traffic stop?"
William Bernard of Eagan was arrested in 2012 at a public boat ramp after he declined a test. He ended up facing felony charges. Political Science professor Phil Kronebusch of the College Of St. Benedict and St. John's University says Bernard's lawyers argue it's a violation of his Fourth Amendment Rights.
However, Kronebusch says the state maintains a search warrant isn't necessary.
The Supreme Court will hear the arguments today (Wednesday), but won't rule on the case until possibly June. He says previous rulings by the court don't bode well for Minnesota.
Several justices today wondered why states don't simply require a warrant if it only takes just a few minutes. Justices Anthony Kennedy and Stephen Breyer seemed to be searching for a middle ground. They suggested breath tests may not need warrants because they are less invasive than blood tests.
Kronebusch says, if the state loses, police would have to use judges to get search warrants much more often. He says previous convictions in the state could also be vacated.