If you are stopped by police while driving and they have reason to believe that you are under the influence of alcohol, they will likely ask you submit to a breathalyzer. As we’ve talked about on the blog in the past, refusing to submit to a breathalyzer is a crime in and of itself thanks to Minnesota’s Implied Consent law. You’ll want to evaluate the specifics of your case before deciding to comply with or refuse a request for a breathalyzer, but it’s also helpful to really understand the refusal process. Below, we take a closer look at BAC test refusal in Minnesota.
Understanding Test Refusal
There are a number of different ways that a person can refuse to submit to a breath test during roadside testing. The most obvious way to refuse is to simply tell the officer that you are not going to submit to a breath test. As we mentioned above, this would lead to an Implied Consent violation. However, you can also be charged with refusal in other ways. For example, you may be charged with test refusal if you engage in any activity that hinders the successful collection of the sample. In other words, any of the following actions would be considered a test refusal in the eyes of the law:
- Failing to listen or adhere to testing instructions from the officer.
- Blowing around the mouthpiece instead of into it.
- Two tests that lead to a “deficient sample” reading.
- Placing mints, coins or any other objects in your mouth in an attempt to fool the machine.
- Becoming belligerent during the testing process.
- Failing to verbally or physically consent to testing when directed.
Another key point when it comes to test refusal is how a change of heart is handled. If you initially decide that you do not want to submit to testing, but you later decide that you would like to provide a sample and avoid an Implied Consent violation, you may be out of luck. An officer can decide to allow you to submit after an initial refusal, but they are not required to do so. Minnesota law states that suspected drunk drivers are held to their initial decision, and a change in heart does not require an officer to allow you to submit to testing.
Some drivers think that they may be able to delay testing so that they can allow their blood alcohol concentration to drop, so they initially opt not to provide a sample, even though they plan to eventually submit to a test. This is a poor strategy, because the officer has no legal obligation to allow you to take a test if you later decide you want to provide a sample. Don’t try to stall this way.
Remember, you do have the right to quickly consult with an attorney prior to making a decision on submitting to a breath test, and we advise that you take advantage of that opportunity. The lawyer can help to explain the situation and allow you to come to an informed decision before deciding whether or not to submit to testing.
If you are suspected of driving drunk and are facing a possible breath test, reach out to a lawyer and know that you can be charged with refusal if your actions delay or disrupt the testing process. For more information, or for help with a different legal issue, reach out to the team at Appelman Law Firm today at (952) 224-2277.