If you are pulled over on suspicion of DWI you will have an important decision to make, whether or not to consent to testing in a DWI case. In short, it is usually best to take the test. Here is why. Under Minnesota’s DWI laws, refusing to submit to the test in itself is a gross misdemeanor. If it is your first DWI and there are no aggravating factors, the underlying DWI is considered a misdemeanor. As its own crime, refusing to take the test is often very easy for a prosecutor to prove at trial. In addition to the consequences of the criminal DWI case, your license will be revoked for a period of one year.
When you are arrested in Minnesota for DWI, you will be given an opportunity to contact a DWI attorney for a consultation. But, because refusal is a crime, a Minnesota DWI attorney is not permitted to instruct clients to refuse the test. In other words, criminal defense attorneys are not allowed to counsel a client to commit a crime. However, it is still best to take advantage of the opportunity to contact a Minnesota DWI lawyer. A DWI attorney can advise you on what possible consequences you are facing and what steps you can take to ensure the reliability of the blood alcohol test. For instance, an experienced Minnesota DWI attorney might recommend privately obtaining a separate test at your own expense.
Our Minneapolis and St. Paul DWI lawyers understand that being arrested for DWI can be scary and the criminal justice system is complex. Use the time you are given to contact an criminal defense attorney for advice one how to conduct yourself, how long you can expect to be held, and what steps you should take once released from jail.
Minnesota’s Laws on Refusing to Submit to DWI Testing
Minnesota law requires you to take a blood, breath, or urine test if you are arrested for a DWI. Minnesota’s “implied consent” law says that if you are lawfully arrested by an officer who has probable cause to believe that you have been driving or boating while intoxicated, then you consent to taking a chemical test of your blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining your blood alcohol content (BAC). You also consent to these chemical tests – even if you have not been arrested – if you are involved in an accident where there is property damage, a serious injury, or death. The test must be taken within two hours of when you were last driving or boating. The officer gets to choose which test you take and may require you to take an additional test if he or she believes you have been taking drugs, too.
Additionally, Minnesota’s implied consent law says that you consent to taking a preliminary breath test. This works like a field sobriety test. The officer will use the results to establish probable cause that you were driving under the influence. You do not have to take this preliminary test, and the officer should say so. Refusing it, however, probably won’t work in your favor if the officer has some other reason to think you had been drinking. Based on that other reason, the officer could still arrest you and then you will be required to take a test under the law described in the paragraph above.
When and officer requests a test, he or she has to tell you that Minnesota law requires you to take it and that refusing it is a crime. The officer must also inform you that you have a right to speak to an attorney, but only for a reasonable amount of time. You can’t chat with your lawyer for hours because it delays the test, but 25 minutes or so should be allowed. This information is made available at www.dui.drivinglaws.org and in Minnesota’s DWI Laws.
Call a Minnesota DWI Lawyer
Minnesota DWI laws are constantly changing. If you or a loved one has been arrested for DWI in Minnesota, contact a Minnesota DWI attorney to ensure that your rights are protected. The Minneapolis, MN criminal defense attorneys at Brockton D. Hunter, P.A. are available to for a free consultation 24 hours a day 365 days a year.