This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
David Brian Wohlenhaus,
Reversed and Remanded
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 01029666
Mike Hatch, Attorney General, 525 Park Street, Suite 500, St. Paul, MN 55103; and
Jay M. Heffern, Minneapolis City Attorney, Timothy A. Richards, Assistant City Attorney, 300 Accenture Tower, 333 South Seventh Street, Minneapolis, MN 55402 (for appellant)
D. Gregory Mulligan, 3209 West 76th Street, Suite 200, Edina, MN 55435 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Lansing, Judge, and Anderson, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
Appellant State of Minnesota contends the district court erred in granting respondent David Wohlenhaus’ motion to dismiss the charge of refusing to submit to chemical testing in violation of Minn. Stat. § 169A.20, subd. 2 (2000), on the grounds that the statute is unconstitutional. Appellant argues that the district court erred because the statute at issue: (1) does not violate respondent’s right to privacy, or right against self-incrimination; (2) is supported by a rational basis test; (3) does not violate respondent’s right to be free of unreasonable searches and seizures; (4) is not void for vagueness; and (5) is not overbroad on its face. We reverse and remand.
“Evaluating a statute’s constitutionality is a question of law.” Hamilton v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 600 N.W.2d 720, 722 (Minn. 1999) (citation omitted). Accordingly, this court “is not bound by the lower court’s conclusions.” In re Blilie, 494 N.W.2d 877, 881 (Minn. 1993) (quoting Sherek v. Indep. Sch. Dist. No. 699, Gilbert, 449 N.W.2d 434, 436 (Minn. 1990)). We will uphold a statute unless the challenging party demonstrates a constitutional infirmity beyond a reasonable doubt. Id.; see In re Haggerty, 448 N.W.2d 363, 364 (Minn. 1989) (noting appellate court must exercise power to declare statute unconstitutional with extreme caution).
It is a crime for any person to refuse to submit to a chemical test of the person’s blood, breath, or urine under section 169A.52 (test refusal or failure; revocation of license).
Appellant argues that the statute does not violate respondent’s right to privacy implicit in the United States and Minnesota Constitutions, contending it is a limited intrusion and not comparable to other protected life decisions. We agree. This issue has already been decided in State v. Mellett, 642 N.W.2d 779 (Minn. App. 2002). In Mellet this court concluded that because the legislature has a compelling state interest in protecting state residents from drunk driving and the act of testing is an important part of the “implementation of that interest,” this limited intrusion is justified. Id. at 784 (citations omitted).
In addition, the United States Supreme Court, the Minnesota Supreme Court, and this court have already addressed the issue of whether a statute that requires testing for blood alcohol violates a person’s right against self-incrimination. The United States Supreme Court held there is no Fifth Amendment right to refuse testing. South Dakota v. Neville, 459 U.S. 553, 564, 103 S. Ct. 916, 923 (1983). And the Minnesota Supreme Court concluded that the refusal statute does not violate a defendant’s right against self-incrimination. McDonnell v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 473 N.W.2d 848, 856 (Minn. 1991); see Mellett, 642 N.W.2d 784.
Appellant argues that the district court erred in finding that the statute deprives respondent of his right to substantive due process. We agree.
The following test should be used when a statute is challenged on substantive due process grounds:
When a statute does not involve a suspect classification and does not infringe on a fundamental right, it need only be rationally related to a legitimate governmental purpose in order to withstand either an equal protection or a substantive due process challenge.
Hawes v. 1997 Jeep Wrangler, 602 N.W.2d 874, 880 (Minn. App. 1999) (citation omitted).
The Mellett court concluded that protecting residents from drunk drivers is a compelling state interest. 642 N.W.2d at 784. Further, reducing drunk driving has been recognized as an important state interest and stopping drunk driving is a legitimate governmental purpose:
It has long been settled that traffic safety is an important state interest. Craig v. Boren, 429 U.S. 190, 199-200, 97 S. Ct. 451, 458, 50 L.Ed.2d 397 (1976); see also Szczech v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 343 N.W.2d 305, 306 (Minn. App. 1984) (noting “the trail of broken lives, bodies, and property left by drunk drivers * * * on our highways.”).
A statute is void due to vagueness only if it fails to define a criminal offense “with sufficient definiteness that ordinary people can understand what conduct is prohibited and in a manner that does not encourage arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.” Kolender v. Lawson, 461 U.S. 352, 357, 103 S. Ct. 1855, 1858 (1983) (citations omitted); seealso Baggett v. Bullitt, 377 U.S. 360, 367, 84 S. Ct. 1316, 1320 (1964) (defining void for vagueness); State v. Newstrom, 371 N.W.2d 525, 528 (Minn. 1985) (discussing void for vagueness doctrine). But see State v. Willenbring, 454 N.W.2d 268, 270 (Minn. App. 1990) (“somewhat general language” of challenged statute does not make it unconstitutionally vague), review denied (Minn. May 30, 1990).
It is a crime for any person to refuse to submit to a chemical test of the person’s blood, breath, or urine under section 169A.52.
The statute references the civil statute to show under what circumstances the criminal statute applies. Respondent argues that it is improper to reference a civil statute in connection with a criminal law. But this issue has been discussed in State v. Olmscheid, 492 N.W.2d 263 (Minn. App. 1992). Because the Olmscheid court determined that a criminal statute may reference parts of a civil statute, 492 N.W.2d at 266, we conclude Minn. Stat. § 169A.52 (2000) is sufficiently definite.
based on an appreciation that the very existence of some broadly written laws has the potential to chill the expressive activity of others not before the court.
State v. Castellano, 506 N.W.2d 641, 645 (Minn. App. 1993) (quotation omitted).