In Minnesota, Cost for Refusing a BAC Test Is High

Everyone agrees that driving while intoxicated (DWI) is dangerous. And while police have a duty to stop those they suspect of driving under the influence, it does not mean that motorists do not have rights. In Minnesota, the penalties for even one DWI conviction can be harsh, so it is important for motorists to understand the law so that they can protect themselves.

Implied Consent in Minnesota

In Minnesota, it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 and higher. Like other states, Minnesota has an "implied consent" law. This means that officers assume that every driver operating a motor vehicle in the state has consented to a chemical test of breath, blood or urine to determine the presence of alcohol or controlled substances.

If a police officer has probable cause to believe that someone is driving under the influence, she will request a chemical test. Officers typically build probable cause in the course of observing erratic driving behavior, speaking to the driver and administering standard field sobriety tests. If the officer determines that she has probable cause, she will request that the driver submit to a chemical test.

Penalties for Refusal Are Severe

Drivers in Minnesota have a right to refuse a BAC test, but the penalties for refusal are severe. Upon certification by the police officer that she had probable cause to believe that the driver had been driving under the influence and that the driver had refused the test, a court will revoke the driver's license to drive for at least one year - and that is assuming that the driver had no impaired driving incidents for at least ten years prior.

A Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help

Before administering the chemical test, an officer must inform the driver that testing is mandatory, refusal is a crime and that the driver has a right to consult with an attorney before submitting to the test.

If you or someone you love is facing charges for DWI, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney. A knowledgeable defense lawyer can assess your case and help protect your rights. For more information, contact an attorney today.