Field Sobriety Testing
Consequences If You Refuse A Blood, Breath or Urine Test
If you are stopped for suspicion of Driving While Impaired in Minnesota (DWI/DUI), the most common test that will be offered to you is a breath test. Current law does not require that an officer secure a warrant when offering a driver a breath test. The United States Supreme Court concluded that the Fourth Amendment allows for warrantless breath tests "incident to an arrest" for drunk driving offenses. The Court concluded that, unlike blood and urine tests, breath testing involves minimal physical intrusion to capture something that is routinely exposed to the public. Moreover, they stated that breath testing in a DWI/DUI case reveals a limited amount of information, and does not enhance any embarrassment beyond what the arrest itself causes. As a result of this ruling, practically speaking, you have no right to refuse a breath test in Minnesota. If you refuse testing following a DWI/DUI arrest, you could face a minimum civil penalty of one year license revocation and a maximum criminal penalty of a $3000.00 fine. Keep in mind these consequences are for a first time Test Refusal Charge. If there are prior alcohol related driving incidents on a person's record, a driver could face additional gross misdemeanor or even felony charges with the potential for prison time and a longer loss of license time.
Blood and urine test requests by an officer following a DWI/DUI arrest are different. If, following a lawful arrest, an officer asks that you submit to a blood or urine test, instead of a breath test, you have more options. You are allowed to refuse initially and you can ask that the officer obtain a warrant prior to you giving a sample of your blood or urine. The United States Supreme Court concluded that it is unconstitutional to criminalize the act of refusing to submit to a warrantless blood search in a DWI/DUI case. Minnesota followed suit shortly thereafter, finding that the same type of test refusal statutes are unconstitutional when law enforcement demand a urine sample. Presently, drivers have a constitutional right to refuse to submit to a urine (or blood) test, and cannot be punished for exercising that right. If a valid warrant is secured and you still intentionally refuse you could face a minimum civil penalty of one year license revocation and a maximum criminal penalty of a $3000.00 fine and one year in jail. Again, these are the potential consequences for a first time Refusal Charge. As stated earlier, if a person has prior alcohol related driving offenses, the potential charges could result in additional gross misdemeanor or felony level offenses and a longer license revocation.
At Halberg Criminal Defense, we provide aggressive criminal defense and a strong legal commitment to clients charged with DWI / DUI/ Drunk Driving in Minneapolis, Saint Paul, the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area and the State of Minnesota. Contact the Halberg Criminal Defense Law Firm today to meet with an attorney for a no-charge, private consultation.