Janssen vs. Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety

Minnesota Court of Appeals Issues Latest ‘Implied Consent’ Court Opinion

CASE NAME: Janssen vs. Minnesota Commissioner of Public Safety (Minnesota Court of Appeals; Opinion No. : A16099; August 22, 2016)

FACTS:

Appellant David Janssen was arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI). A preliminary breath test indicated an alcohol concentration of 0.196. After the impliedconsent advisory was read to him, appellant agreed to take a breath test. The first sample resulted in an alcohol concentration of 0.174, the second in an alcohol concentration of 0.167. Appellant’s driver’s license was revoked for a year and his license plates were impounded because his alcohol concentration was “twice the legal limit [of 0.08] or more 3 as measured at the time or within two hours of the time of the offense.” Minn. Stat. § 169A.54, subd. 1(3)(iii) (2014); see also Minn. Stat. § 169A.60, subd. 1(d)(3) (2014) (providing that driving with an alcohol concentration twice the legal limit or more is a “plate impoundment violation”).

“Can the Police Get My Medical Records?”

This topic or question often comes up when we represent clients accused of DUI/Drunk Driving that have been involved in an accident and have been taken to a hospital and are charged with DUI in the process.  Most of the time our clients have refused to provide a blood sample for testing when requested by the police officer – but can the police subsequently go back and try to obtain a copy of the medical records and see if the hospital ran a blood alcohol test on their own during treatment?

“Emma’s Law” (S.137) clears first hurdle and is unanimously voted out of the South Carolina House of Representative Criminal Law Subcommittee.

On March 20, 2014, a key subcommittee hearing related to the potential passage of South Carolina Senate Bill S.137 (a/k/a Emma’s Law) was held at the South Carolina Legislature. The hearing was well attended and many voices were present urging the subcommittee to pass “Emma’s Law.”  S.137 has been renamed “Emma’s Law” due to the tragic death of the child Emma Longstreet at the hands of a multiple and repeat drunk driving offender in Columbia last year.  Her unfortunate death has galvanized community support for the passage of S.137.  Debbie Ware, statewide chairman for MADD, emphasized that, according to several national studies, 67 percent of failed drunk driving collisions involve a repeat offender; and additionally, a repeat drunk driving offender is eight times more likely to be involved in a failed DUI accident than a driver with only one prior DUI conviction.  After hearing testimony from various citizens, the subcommittee voted 5-0 to send “Emma’s Law” onto the full House of Representatives Criminal Law Committee for its consideration.  Most observers believed that “Emma’s Law” will be fully endorsed by the South Carolina House of Representatives, the South Carolina Senate and will be signed into law by Governor Haley before the end of the 2014 session.

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Steve Sumner

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