Bernard v. Minnesota / Beylund v. Minnesota / Birchfield v. North Dakota

Posted: January 25, 2016 by beguide in case summaries, Criminal Procedure, Due Process, Evidence, Fantasy Supreme Court League, Punishment, Right to Privacy, search and seizure, Uncategorized
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WHAT HAPPENED:  In North Dakota, Minnesota and countless other States in the Union, the State may penalize a suspected drunk driver if that driver refuses to submit a blood or breath test.  The test is requested after reasonable suspicion is established and refusal often results in penalties similar to that of a DUI.

WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT:  Despite what you may observe from watching the TV show COPS, you do not have an obligation to cooperate with police investigations.  Consent is seen as a waiver of your rights and not a required action.  In this context, the State is penalizing you for exercising your 4th amendment right against search and seizure by giving you a penalty for refusal.  Taken broadly, that’s a problem.  This case asks whether penalties for refusing blood, breath or both, are constitutional.

WHAT IS THE RULING:  This case is not yet decided.

WHAT IS THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS DECISION:  If the Court deems these statutes unconstitutional, that will be a significant problem in proving DUI convictions in most cases.  While many people admit to driving drunk when pulled over, many others receive less penalties by refusing the tests and depriving the State the best evidence to secure a conviction.  In this author’s humble opinion, this case probably will have the most effect on the average citizen than any other decision this term.

ROOT FOR BIRCHFIELD, BEYLUND & BERNARD IF:  As far as I’m aware, this is the exclusive list (1) Public Defenders, (2)  Hyper-strict AND liberal Constitution fanatics, and (3) drunks.  It should be noted that one person could qualify for all three of these things

ROOT FOR NORTH DAKOTA AND MINNESOTA IF: You don’t think drunk drivers are a class of persons worth giving strong protections to.

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