Minnesota Supreme Court issues verdict in Beltrami County court case

A recent arrest in Beltrami County led to the involvement of the Minnesota Supreme Court, according to a release from Beltrami County Sheriff Jason Riggs.


BEMIDJI — A recent arrest in Beltrami County led to the involvement of the Minnesota Supreme Court, according to a release from Beltrami County Sheriff Jason Riggs.

"The legal process is built with several levels of 'checks and balances.' A recent arrest made by a Beltrami County deputy made its way through these checks and balances, ending up in the Minnesota Supreme Court," Riggs said.

According to the release, in November 2019, a Beltrami County deputy observed a male party known to the deputy, operating a vehicle. The man was on a private drive and appeared to be preparing to turn onto a public roadway. He was known to have a driver’s license that was canceled inimical to public safety due to a long history of driving violations.

The deputy made contact with the man and observed signs of intoxication. A search warrant was obtained for a sample of his blood, which tested positive for methamphetamine. The man was ultimately arrested for driving while impaired and driving after cancelation inimical to public safety (DAC-IPS), the release said.

The male party was charged in Beltrami County District Court with one felony count of DWI and one count of DAC-IPS. The defendant moved to suppress all evidence obtained from his arrest, arguing that his canceled license did not prohibit him from driving on private property, the release said. The defendant’s motion was denied and he was ultimately found guilty in District Court and sentenced to 57 months in prison.


The defendant appealed the verdict, again arguing that the DAC-IPS statute only prohibits a person with a canceled license from driving on public roadways, not private property.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in the defendant’s favor and reversed the district court’s ruling on the defendant’s motion to suppress and dismiss. At the request of the state, the Court of Appeal’s decision was brought to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

In a ruling that was filed on March 15, the Minnesota Supreme Court held that the DAC-IPS statute is enforceable on private property, including residential driveways, and that the District Court properly denied the defendant’s motion to suppress and dismiss, therefore reversing the Court of Appeal’s decision, which resulted in the reinstatement of the defendant’s conviction.

The legal challenges in this case were handled by the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office and the Minnesota County Attorneys Association.

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