This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2006).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota,
William Scott Fraser,
Polk County District Court
File No. KX-06-000020
Lori Swanson, Attorney General, 1800
Greg Widseth, Polk County Attorney,
Samuel A. McCloud,
Considered and decided by Wright, Presiding Judge; Minge, Judge; and Worke, Judge.
Appellant challenges his conviction of third-degree driving while impaired, arguing that a deputy sheriff wrongfully obtained his blood sample and, therefore, that the district court erred by admitting blood-test evidence. We affirm.
William Fraser was involved in a single-vehicle automobile accident in
The deputy asked appellant to take a preliminary breath test (PBT). Appellant agreed, and the breath test indicated that his alcohol concentration was .226. The deputy read appellant the implied-consent advisory. Appellant asked to speak with an attorney. Although medical personnel interrupted appellant’s telephone call with the attorney to administer treatment, appellant was able to call back. After appellant finished consulting with his attorney, the deputy asked appellant if he would submit to a blood test. Appellant agreed. Appellant’s blood test showed that he had an alcohol concentration of .18. He was subsequently charged with third-degree driving while impaired, in violation of Minn. Stat. §§ 169A.20, subd. 1(1), .26 (2004), a gross misdemeanor due to a prior driving-while-impaired conviction.
Appellant filed a motion to suppress the blood-test evidence on various grounds. The district court denied appellant’s motion, holding that appellant voluntarily consented to both the PBT and the subsequent blood test. Appellant submitted the matter to the district court on a stipulated record, which included the blood-test evidence, under the procedure in State v. Lothenbach, 296 N.W.2d 854 (Minn. 1980). The district court convicted appellant as charged. This appeal followed.
issue in this case is whether the district court erred by admitting the
blood-test evidence. “When reviewing
pretrial orders on motions to suppress evidence, we may independently review
the facts and determine, as a matter of law, whether the district court erred
in suppressing – or not suppressing – the evidence.” State
v. Harris, 590 N.W.2d 90, 98 (
Minnesota Supreme Court has expressed a “concern that law enforcement officials
not mislead individuals with respect to their obligation to undergo blood
alcohol content testing.” McDonnell v. Comm’r of Pub. Safety, 473
N.W.2d 848, 853 (
At the omnibus hearing, appellant testified that he agreed to take the blood test after
[t]he officer approached me and said that – asked me if I would be willing to take this test and stated that it would be a good thing if I took the test because I had – would be sitting in jail. I would go to jail if I didn’t take the test. And being that it was a long weekend and with the condition I was in with the injuries that I had sustained, that it might make for a little bit discomfort – a lot of discomfort in there.
deputy testified that he read appellant the implied-consent advisory; that
appellant indicated that he understood; that when appellant asked to speak with
an attorney, he was provided with a telephone; and that when asked to take the
blood test, appellant agreed. The deputy
testified that he did not recall a conversation about the failure to take the
test. The district court essentially
credited the deputy’s recollection of the events and rejected appellant’s
conflicting testimony. The district
court concluded that appellant voluntarily consented to the blood test and
denied appellant’s motion to suppress. Because
the district court was in a superior position to evaluate the credibility of
both witnesses, we defer to its credibility determinations. State
v. Kramer, 668 N.W.2d 32, 37-38 (Minn. App. 2003), review denied (
also argues that the deputy wrongfully influenced him by representing that he would
spend the weekend in jail if he refused to allow the test. Appellant contends that based on this comment,
he was actively “misled” and “coerced” into submitting to a blood test. Given appellant’s previous DWI conviction,
his refusal to submit to the blood test would have elevated the offense to a
second-degree DWI. Minn. Stat. §§
169A.095, .25, subd. 1(b) (2004). Under
appellant claims that the deputy wrongfully failed to offer him an alternative
to the blood test.