MN Supreme Court Overturns Appeals Court Ruling in Beltrami Co. DWI Case
The Minnesota Supreme Court recently overturned a Court of Appeals ruling in a Beltrami County DWI case.
Beltrami County Sheriff Jason Riggs said the case involves an arrest made in November 2019 and the enforcement of certain statutes on private property. The Sheriff’s Office reported that a deputy observed a male operating a vehicle on a private drive and was preparing to turn onto a public roadway. The male, who the deputy knew, was known to have a driver’s license that was canceled due to a long history of driving violations.
Upon making contact with the driver, the deputy observed signs of intoxication. After obtaining a search warrant for a sample of the individual’s blood, the test came back positive for methamphetamine.
The driver was initially charged in Beltrami County Court with one felony count of driving while intoxicated and one count of driving after cancellation inimical to public safety (DAC-IPS). Although the defendant moved to suppress all evidence obtained during the arrest and argued that his canceled license did not prohibit him from driving on private property, this motion was denied. He was ultimately found guilty in District Court and sentenced to 57 months in prison.
Later, after the defendant appealed the case, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in the defendant’s favor and reversed the district court’s ruling on a motion to suppress and dismiss. The state then requested that this decision would be brought to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
On March 15th, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the DAC-IPS statute is still enforceable on private property, including residential driveways, and that the District Court properly denied the defendant’s claim to suppress and dismiss, therefore reversing the Court of Appeal’s decision.
The legal challenges in this case were handled by the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office and the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office.
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