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Urine testing in Minnesota

Urine Test for Alcohol in Minnesota DWI Cases is Scientifically Invalid

Urine Testing is unreliable, banned in most states

Not only that, Minnesota directs its law enforcement officers (“LEOs”) to collect samples in a scientifically invalid way.  Most states that still allow urine tests, at least require  a “second void” sample.  A second void sample reduces the problem of “urine pooling.”

Most states ban collecting a driver’s urine for use as evidence in a DWI prosecution – and for good reason.  Minnesota is still in the dark ages of using urine test sampling for alcohol-related driving cases.

What is urine pooling?

No, it’s not a reference to kids and swimming pools.

Imagine a person drinks five alcohol beverages over a several hours.  Then he stops consuming alcohol for a few hours before driving.

Isn’t that what we want people to do?

Well, imagine a police officer stops him for expired tabs.  Then she smells the odor of an alcoholic beverage.  Police get a “first void”urine sample.

By then the person would have a blood test result of below 0.04 BAC.  But the urine test shows 0.08.

How could it be?

If the person didn’t urinate during this entire period, most of the consumed alcohol would still be in his urine. So, his urine will have a higher alcohol concentration than his blood. 

Why does that matter?  Alcohol in the blood correlates with impaired driving.  But alcohol in the urine does not.

The time wildcard: Urine test is vulnerable to the pooling problem
Time wildcard: Urine test is vulnerable to the pooling problem

Wrongful convictions of sober drivers – urine test

Yet Minnesota  laws make it irrelevant that his blood alcohol level was 0.04.  If his urine alcohol level was 0.08, the law makes that a per se DWI crime.  Combine that with Minnesota law that lack of impairment is legally irrelevant to 0.08 charge, and you have injustice.

So completely sober people, not driving impaired, can be convicted of DWI, on a technicality.

Welcome to DWI enforcement and prosecution in Minnesota.   Enforcement expediency is their priority, not justice.

Other issues with urine test

Additional Test Right

Minnesota Statutes specifically require police to allow a person to get an additional chemical test.

But this is after providing the police with their urine, blood or breath sample. And this reflects your Constitutional Right to preserve exculpatory evidence.

Because urine alcohol tests are so wildly inaccurate, you should always get an Additional Test.  Ask police for the phone to call someone to come to the jail to collect a blood sample.  If police release you in response, go get a blood draw for an Additional Test, as soon as possible.  Delay reduces evidentiary value of any chemical test for alcohol.

Always call a DWI lawyer before giving a sample for chemical testing.

Alternative Test Right

A prosecutor cannot charge a driver with test refusal after a request for a urine test; unless police offer a blood test alternative.  Some people can’t urinate in front of another person.  You can request a blood test instead.

Be sure to call a DWI attorney before giving any sample.

Fermentation and preservative – urine test

Urine alcohol test kits have preservative already in the container, before adding the urine sample.  Or it should have. 

But if it does not, the urine’s sugar will ferment, creating alcohol that was never there in the first place. 

The burden is one the state to prove fair and accurate testing procedures.

Chain of custody

What if police or a lab confuse your sample with someone else’s.  Lucky for someone; bad for you.   

The state must show evidence of a continuous chain of custody.  They must prove every link in the chain , from the sample, to the lab analysis, to the courtroom.

Defending Minnesota DWI charges

Facing a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony DWI charge with a urine test?

You need serious legal expertise.

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So call DWI Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher.

He can help you fight back against this unfair, unjust web of laws and scientifically flawed evidence.

Question about a Urine Test or a Minnesota DWI case? Check out our DWI FAQ page. Or just  Call Attorney Thomas Gallagher at 612 333-1500.

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