Blood tests for DWI arrests

To the editor:

An article on page 2A of Wednesday’s Journal stated that Stearns County is the only county in Minnesota in which law enforcement agencies are routinely seeking search warrants for alcohol tests in DWI cases where drivers do not agree to take such tests voluntarily.

Since at least July, law enforcement agencies throughout Brown County have been applying for search warants to obtain blood samples in all DWI arrests. The policy is the result of a decision among the county attorney’s office; the city attorneys of Springfield, Sleepy Eye and New Ulm; and all the law enforcement agencies in the county. The only difference between the two policies is that Stearns County waits for a refusal, while Brown County seeks a warrant immediately.

As police, prosecutors and the courts throughout the country try to determine the best approach to take in dealing with a recent US Supreme Court decision that affects procedures in DWI cases, it seems appropriate to let your readers know what is happening locally as well as in other counties.

Robert Docherty

Judge of District Court

Brown Country

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