The Implied Consent Law has an enormous impact on DWI charges and proceedings in Minnesota. This law governs the testing of motorists for controlled substances. However, too few drivers understand what the law means for their rights.
According to the Implied Consent law in Minnesota, anybody who chooses to operate a motor vehicle within the state is therefore consenting to a breath, blood, or urine test for alcohol or controlled substances. These tests may be administered if an officer has probable cause to believe a driver was operating a vehicle while impaired and one of the following conditions is met:
- The person is lawfully under arrest for driving while impaired
- The person has been involved in a motor vehicle accident or collision that has resulted in property damage, personal injury, or death
- The person has already refused a voluntary field sobriety test
- A preliminary breath test indicated a BAC of 0.08 or more
- The person under suspicion was operating a commercial motor vehicle
Under the Implied Consent law, refusing to test is a crime that carries harsher penalties than a DWI conviction. Refusal is punishable by license revocation for a minimum of 90 days. The revocation period for a DWI conviction is a 30-day minimum.
It is considered refusal to test if a person who consented to a breathalyzer test does not produce two separate and adequate breath samples in one test. If a first breathalyzer test is deficient, the person is required to produce a second breath sample. If the second test is also deficient, it is considered a refusal.
If a person is unconscious or otherwise unable to refuse a test, they are still assumed as consenting and a test may be administered without their approval or knowledge.
Law enforcement officers may take breath or urine samples, but only qualified medical personnel may obtain a blood sample. If a person has already taken a voluntary breath test, they may be required to submit a blood or urine sample if the officer believes they are under the influence of a controlled substance other than alcohol.
Action cannot be taken against a person who refuses a method of testing (blood, urine) and is not offered an alternative method. If pulled over, tell the officer you will take a blood or urine test at the station after you speak with your attorney. Do NOT submit to a breath test or any other field sobriety test.
- You are legally required to take ONE form of testing (breath, blood, urine) IF you are under arrest. This does not need to be (and should not be) taken at the roadside.
- Do NOT submit to a breath test or any other field sobriety test. These are often inaccurate and are primarily used to incriminate drivers, not clear them. Furthermore, if you are unable to produce adequate breath samples, you can be charged with refusal to test and face harsh penalties.
- You have the right to call your attorney before taking ANY test for alcohol or controlled substances. Exercise this right.
- Review the DWI Do’s and Don’ts
Minnesota motorists pulled over for DWI may find it difficult to understand their rights. If you find yourself in a DWI situation, call a MN criminal defense attorney with DWI/DUI experience immediately.
Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes