Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

State v. Helm

Supreme Court of North Dakota

August 29, 2017

State of North Dakota, Plaintiff and Appellant
v.
Steven Floyd Helm, Defendant and Appellee

         Appeal from the District Court of Cass County, East Central Judicial District, the Honorable Frank L. Racek, Judge.

          Cherie L. Clark (argued), Assistant State's Attorney, and Reid A. Brady (appeared), Fargo, N.D., for plaintiff and appellant.

          Monty G. Mertz, Fargo, N.D., for defendant and appellee.

          Danny L. Herbel (on brief), Bismarck, N.D., for amicus curiae North Dakota Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers.

          OPINION

          McEvers, Justice.

         [¶ 1] The State appeals from an order granting Steven Helm's motion to dismiss a criminal prosecution against him for refusing to submit to a warrantless urine test incident to arrest. We conclude the State may not criminally prosecute Helm for refusing to submit to the warrantless urine test incident to arrest, and we affirm the order.

         I

         [¶ 2] At 1:30 a.m. on May 5, 2016, a law enforcement officer observed Helm driving a motor vehicle without headlights. After interaction with Helm during a traffic stop, the officer suspected Helm was driving under the influence of a controlled substance. Helm was ultimately arrested for driving under the influence, and he subsequently refused to submit to a warrantless urine test incident to the arrest. The State charged Helm with refusing to submit to a chemical test.

         [¶ 3] The district court granted Helm's motion to dismiss, ruling the requested warrantless urine test incident to arrest was like a warrantless blood test incident to arrest under Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S.Ct. 2160 (2016). The court concluded the exception to the warrant requirement for a search incident to arrest did not apply to the warrantless urine test and Helm could not be criminally prosecuted for refusing the warrantless urine test.

         II

         [¶ 4] Section 39-08-01, N.D.C.C., criminalizes a driver's refusal to submit to a law enforcement officer's request under N.D.C.C. § 39-20-01 for a chemical test of the driver's blood, breath, or urine. Section 39-20-01, N.D.C.C., provides that any individual operating a motor vehicle on a highway of this State is deemed to have given consent to a chemical test of the individual's blood, breath, or urine to determine the alcohol concentration or presence of drugs in the individual's blood, breath, or urine, and authorizes a law enforcement officer to determine which test to request. At the time relevant to this proceeding, N.D.C.C. § 39-20-01(3)(a) [1] described the implied consent advisory:

The law enforcement officer shall inform the individual charged that North Dakota law requires the individual to take the test to determine whether the individual is under the influence of alcohol or drugs; that refusal to take the test directed by the law enforcement officer is a crime punishable in the same manner as driving under the influence; and that refusal of the individual to submit to the test directed by the law enforcement officer may result in a revocation for a minimum of one hundred eighty days and up to three years of the individual's driving privileges.

         [¶ 5] The State argues the district court erred in ruling the requested warrantless urine test, which the State claims would have been administered without requiring any exposure of the arrestee's genitals, was constitutionally reasonable as a search incident to an arrest for drug-based charges of driving under the influence. The State claims a critical factor for evaluating the reasonableness of a chemical test is the manner of administration and argues warrantless urine tests administered without requiring exposure of the arrestee's genitals are reasonable under the search incident to arrest exception to the warrant requirement. The State argues that not requiring exposure of the arrestee's genitals establishes a categorical rule for allowing a warrantless urine test incident to arrest for a drug-based charge of driving while impaired.

         [¶ 6] The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures, and the administration of urine tests are searches under that provision. Skinner v. Ry. Labor Execs.' Ass'n, 489 U.S. 602, 613-17 (1989); Nat'l Treasury Emps. Union v. Von Raab, 489 U.S. 656, 665 (1989). The touchstone for a search under the Fourth Amendment is reasonableness and typically requires law enforcement to obtain a judicial warrant before conducting a search. Birchfield, 136 S.Ct. at 2173. Searches conducted outside the judicial process without a warrant are per se ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.