In most states throughout the country, including Minnesota, “implied consent” laws.
Implied consent refers to the implicit agreement that all motorists make—by driving on roads in Minnesota—to consent to take a chemical test to determine the presence of alcohol or drugs. In other words, it is mandatory for a driver to submit to testing if law enforcement has enough probable cause for a DWI arrest.
Furthermore, if a driver refused to take a preliminary breath test (PBT), had a PBT reading of .08% or more, or was involved in a crash involving property damage, injury, or death, then he or she is required to submit to testing.
Consequences for Test Refusal
For test refusal, Minnesota statues provide criminal and civil/administrative penalties. However, recent court decisions have found specific criminal actions for test refusal to be unconstitutional. Now, refusal to take a chemical test can no longer be criminally enforced, but only in cases involving breath tests.
If a person who committed a first-time DWI offense which involves a breath test refusal is considered a gross misdemeanor, also known as a third-degree DWI. A gross misdemeanor is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $3,000. A second DWI which involves test refusal is also considered a gross misdemeanor, but also a second-degree DWI, which is subject to vehicle forfeiture (civil penalty)
The civil/administrative penalty for chemical test refusal results in a loss of your driver’s license for one to six years. The length of the revocation or cancelation period depends on the driver’s DWI history or driving record. Test refusal can result in a longer suspension period compared to failing a chemical test.
Obtain Experienced Legal Representation
Before administering the test, the officer is required to advise the motorist of the consequences of refusal. Additionally, the officer must also inform the driver of the right to contact a lawyer and give the driver reasonable amount of time to do so. Keep in mind, the driver cannot use this right to unreasonably delay the test.
While declining an officer’s request to take a chemical test can lead to harsher penalties than you’d otherwise be facing. However, there are certain circumstances where refusal could work in your favor. Since no situation is the same, it is wise to consult with an attorney to face the decision.
For more information, contact us and request a free consultation today.