MN Implied Consent Statute Held Constitutional

Minnesota case law summary by Attorney Richard Clem: implied consent.

Rita Ann Stevens v. Commissioner of Public Safety. MN implied consent

In this implied consent appeal from Hennepin County, Rita Ann Stevens argued that that the Minnesota implied-consent statute violates the unconstitutional-conditions doctrine because it imposes on a driver a choice between, on the one hand, relinquishing the Fourth Amendment right to be free from an unreasonable search and, on the other hand, relinquishing a license to drive a motor vehicle. She cited Frost v. Railroad Comm'n of Cal., 271 U.S. 583 (1926) and State v. Netland, 762 N.W.2d 202 (Minn. 2009).

The court first noted that no cases had applied this doctrine to Fourth Amendment rights, and that the U.S. Supreme Court is disinclined to adopt it in that context. The appeals court also noted that Stevens was unable to show that the search itself was unconstitutional. The court also noted that the statute was not sufficiently coercive to invoke the doctrine.

No. A13-1855 (Minn. Ct. App. July 14, 2014)

Please see the original opinion for the court's exact language.


Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).

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