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Dugas v. Commissioner of Public Safety

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

November 25, 2013

Matthew Phillip Dugas, petitioner, Appellant,
v.
Commissioner of Public Safety, Respondent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Ramsey County District Court File No. 62-CV-12-5416.

Charles A. Ramsay, Daniel J. Koewler, Ramsay Law Firm, P.L.L.C, Roseville, Minnesota (for appellant)

Lori Swanson, Attorney General, James E. Haase, Assistant Attorney General, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent)

Considered and decided by Kirk, Presiding Judge; Smith, Judge; and Harten, Judge.

HARTEN, Judge [*]

Appellant challenges a district court decision to sustain the revocation of his driver's license, claiming that the district court erred in relying on the result of a Datamaster breath test administered at a law enforcement center shortly after appellant's arrest rather than on the result of a blood-alcohol test administered at a hospital four hours later. We affirm.

FACTS

On 24 June 2012, about twenty minutes after midnight, appellant Matthew Dugas was stopped for driving without a headlight. The arresting officer administered some field sobriety tests, which appellant failed, and a preliminary breath test, which indicated a breath-alcohol concentration of .10. Appellant was arrested for driving while impaired (DWI), his driver's license was revoked, and he was taken to a law enforcement center where, at 1:24 a.m., he was given a Datamaster breath-alcohol test (DMT) that indicated a breath-alcohol concentration of .09.

Appellant asked to be taken to a hospital for medical treatment. At appellant's request, hospital staff at 5:34 a.m. administered a blood-alcohol test that indicated a blood-serum alcohol concentration of .03.

Appellant sought judicial review of the revocation of his driver's license. At the hearing, he admitted consuming about six drinks between 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. on 23 June. Appellant's forensic toxicology expert testified that (1) he saw no problems with either the DMT instrument or the DMT result obtained at the law enforcement center;

(2)the test at the hospital used a method not yet approved for DWI testing in Minnesota;

(3) at the normal rate of elimination (.015 grams per hour) appellant would have eliminated about .06 grams of alcohol during the four hours between the two tests; and

(4) the result of appellant's blood-alcohol test at the hospital, a blood-serum alcohol concentration of .03, was consistent with the .09 result of the ...


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