may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996)
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
State of Minnesota, City of Medina,
Leah Marie Jedlicka,
Filed October 28, 1997
Hennepin County District Court
File No. 96104388
Steven M. Tallen, 4640 IDS Center, 80 South Eighth Street, Minneapolis MN 55402 (for appellant)
Jerry Strauss, Commerce at the Crossings, Suite 145, 250 Second Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for respondent)
Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Attorney General, 14th Floor NCL Tower, 445 Minnesota Street, St. Paul, MN 55101
Considered and decided by Norton, Presiding Judge, Schumacher, Judge, and Forsberg, Judge.[*]
The state appeals from the district court's order suppressing blood test results in the prosecution of respondent Leah Marie Jedlicka for careless driving and underage consumption of alcohol and driving. Because we find the state has failed to demonstrate that the suppressed evidence critically impacts the state's case, we affirm.
The state charged Jedlicka with careless driving and underage consumption of alcohol and driving. Jedlicka moved to suppress the blood test results. The court granted the motion, finding the officer did not have probable cause to obtain the blood sample. The state appeals from the district court's suppression order.
demonstrates clearly and unequivocally, first, that the trial court erred in its judgment and, second, that unless reversed, the error will have a critical impact on the outcome of the trial.
State v. Joon Kyu Kim, 398 N.W.2d 544, 547 (Minn. 1987) (citing State v. Webber, 262 N.W.2d 157, 159 (Minn. 1977)). To show critical impact, the state must demonstrate that the likelihood of a successful prosecution is significantly reduced by the state's inability to present the suppressed evidence. State v. Zanter, 535 N.W.2d 624, 630 (Minn. 1995) (citing Joon Kyu Kim, 398 N.W.2d at 547). Whether the suppressed evidence significantly affects the strength of the state's case depends in large part on the nature of the state's evidence against the accused. Id.
The state argues the suppression of the blood alcohol test results critically impacts the prosecution of Jedlicka for careless driving under Minn. Stat. § 169.13, subd. 2 and underage consumption of alcohol and driving under Minn. Stat. § 169.1218. We disagree. The state has other evidence that Jedlicka consumed alcoholic beverages before driving. The responding officers observed that she smelled of alcohol when they spoke with her at the accident scene, and Jedlicka admitted that she had two drinks prior to the accident. Alcohol consumption may be relevant evidence in a prosecution for careless driving but is not an element of the offense. Unlike a prosecution for DWI, where the state is required to prove a suspect is under the influence of alcohol or is driving with an alcohol concentration above the statutory limit, the state only must show a suspect drank some alcohol before driving to prove the offense of underage consumption of alcohol and driving. Cf. State v. Ault, 478 N.W.2d 797, 799 (Minn. App. 1991) (holding a chemical test showing alcohol concentration in excess of statutory limit critically impacts a prosecution for DWI). Although the blood test results may provide the best proof that Jedlicka had been drinking alcohol, the suppression of this evidence does not critically impact the state's case.
Because the state has not made the threshold showing of critical impact, we do not address the merits of the state's argument that the district court erroneously suppressed the blood test results.
[ ]* Retired judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals, serving by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.