If the police pull you over in a traffic stop in Minnesota, he or she might merely detain you for several minutes in order to issue some type of warning (i.e., get that brake light fixed asap), or a lengthier process might unfold — for instance, if the officer asks you to step out of your vehicle. A request to exit your vehicle often means that the police officer in question suspects you of drunk driving. The next request might be for you to take a DWI test.
Police use numerous DWI tests during traffic stops and following an arrest. During a traffic stop, a patrol officer might use such a test to determine if there is probable cause to arrest you for suspected driver impairment. Following your arrest, police will likely administer a Breathalyzer test or other chemical test to register your blood alcohol content level as evidence in your case. If you refuse a DWI test, there may be several implications.
Implied consent laws are relevant to DWI test refusal in Minnesota
If you signed a Minnesota driver’s license, you gave consent to take a Breathalyzer or other chemical DWI test following an arrest for suspected drunk driving. This is known as “implied consent.” Most states have such laws in place nowadays. Because of implied consent, if you refuse to take a Breathalyzer test following a DWI arrest, your driver’s license will undoubtedly face automatic suspension.
Refusing a preliminary alcohol screening test is an entirely separate issue
If a police officer asks you to take a breath test during a traffic stop, it is known as a “preliminary alcohol screening” test. This is different than taking a Breathalyzer test following a DWI arrest. In fact, you’re not obligated to comply with a request to take a roadside breath test during a traffic stop, nor are you obligated to take a field sobriety test.
There are no administrative or legal penalties for refusing roadside DWI tests during a traffic stop. However, if an arrest takes place anyway, and you face criminal charges in court, prosecutors may inform the court that you refused to take a preliminary alcohol screening test during the traffic stop that led to your arrest.
To comply or not comply; that is the question
In addition to license suspension, some states tack on other penalties, such as fines, for refusing to take a Breathalyzer test following a DWI arrest. In either circumstance (roadside tests during a traffic stop or chemical testing following an arrest), it is your choice whether or not to take a test. You’ll want to make sure, however, that you clearly understand the possible implications of your refusal.
As stated earlier, prosecutors may try to use the fact that you refused a roadside breath test or field sobriety test to incriminate you in court. Implied consent laws make it possible to incur numerous types of penalties for refusing DWI tests after an arrest. It’s helpful to seek experienced guidance if you’re arrested for suspected drunk driving in Minnesota, as any and all choices you make following you arrest may have a significant effect on the ultimate outcome of your case.