Minnesota law enforcement may ask anyone operating a motor vehicle to submit to a chemical test for alcohol or drugs if suspected of driving under the influence. Drivers who take breath, blood, or urine tests may be charged with driving while intoxicated (DWI) if the test results in the driver having a blood-alcohol concentration at 0.08 or higher, or if controlled substances are found. If a driver refuses to take a breath, blood, or urine test, he or she may be charged with gross misdemeanor test refusal – a criminal offense – in addition to automatically losing his or her driver’s license for 1 year pursuant to Minnesota’s implied consent laws. The two most common types of DWI tests are field sobriety tests and chemical tests.
Field Sobriety Tests
Police routinely ask drivers suspected of DWI to perform field sobriety tests. These tests are designed to help an officer determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Field sobriety tests may include asking a driver to walk heel-to-toe in a straight line, stand on one leg, and submitting a breath sample into a portable breath testing machine for a preliminary breath test (PBT). It is a common misconception that drivers must perform field sobriety tests. However, a driver may lawfully refuse to submit to these tests and cannot be charged with test refusal.
Chemical tests are primarily taken at a police station or hospital and may include breath, blood, or urine testing. Unlike field sobriety tests, if a driver refuses to submit to a chemical test, he or she may be charged with criminal test refusal – a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine. Minnesota law requires a person to submit to a chemical test if they refused the preliminary breath test or the preliminary breath test resulted in a blood-alcohol concentration reading of 0.08 or higher. People are also required to submit to chemical testing when involved in a car accident causing personal injury, death, or property damage.
The arresting officer decides the type of chemical test to be used. If the officer requests a breath test, the suspect cannot ask for a blood or urine test. If the officer offers a blood test, the suspect can request a urine test instead. Likewise, if the officer offers a urine test, the suspect may request a blood test instead.
Contact Minneapolis DWI Test Refusal Lawyer
A gross misdemeanor Test Refusal charge can be stressful given the potential impact to a criminal record. If you face Test Refusal charges, you have options. To speak with Minneapolis DWI Test Refusal Defense Lawyer Christopher Keyser, call our office at 612-338-5007.