The law in Minnesota says that anyone arrested for suspected drunk driving is required to submit to a breath, blood or urine test to determine their level of intoxication. This requirement is what’s known as the state’s implied consent law. So how does this law work and what are the penalties for refusing to submit to such a test?
The law in Minnesota requires drivers to submit to one of the three kinds of test once an officer has found probable cause to suspect you of driving while impaired. The implied consent law says that by driving on the state’s roadways, you have already given your consent to submit to such tests, a somewhat confusing legal idea that many struggle to wrap their minds around.
What happens if you refuse?
When the officer asks you to submit to the test, he or she is legally required to inform you that the law says you have already consented to the search and that to refuse to do so now is a crime. The officer must also inform you of your right to speak to an attorney.
Once you’ve been informed of your rights, the choice of what to do next is up to you. Though you are required to submit to a test to determine your level impairment, you do actually still have the right to refuse. Should you choose not to submit to a test, you need to understand that you will be subject to immediate and somewhat painful legal penalties. Even if an individual has no prior DWI convictions or alcohol related driver’s license revocations, refusal to submit to chemical testing is considered a gross misdemeanor level criminal offense in Minnesota.
What are the penalties for refusing?
Minnesota Statutes Section 169A.52 says that anyone who refuses to submit to a test will have his or her license or permit to drive revoked for a certain amount of time. Exactly how long depends on your prior history. Specifically, those with no previous drunk driving incidents on their record within the last 10 years will have their license revoked for one year. If you’ve had one previous drunk driving incident, then your refusal will result in a two-year license revocation. Those with two previous incidents will get a three-year revocation, while those with three prior infractions will get four years. Finally, anyone with four or more previous drunk driving incidents on their records will have their license revoked for six years if he or she refuses to submit to a test.
When can you not refuse?
This remains a somewhat murky area of the law as there have been several recent cases at the state and federal level challenging warrantless tests. Generally, the rule says that unless there are exigent circumstances that require a blood, breath or urine test, you cannot be forced to take a test once you choose not to. Some exceptions include car accidents where another person was injured or died or if you are found unconscious. In both cases, you can be tested without giving consent.
Your right to speak with a DUI Attorney in Minnesota prior to testing
Under Minnesota DWI Law, a driver has a legal right to speak with an attorney prior to deciding whether to submit to an evidentiary chemical test to determine their blood alcohol concentration. This stage is very critical and can have an important impact on the criminal prosecution of any future criminal charges. Therefore, it is imperative to contact a DUI attorney immediately if you or a loved one has been arrested for drunk driving and are being asked by the police to submit to a breath, blood or urine test.