DWI: Can You Refuse a Breath Test?

February 14, 2022  |  Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd.

Should you make the mistake of driving under the influence, there may be a series of penalties coming your way. Many try to avoid the repercussions by refusing a breathalyzer test completely, but this is a crime itself in Minnesota and oftentimes gets you in more trouble. Continue reading to find out what you should do if you are pulled over while driving under the influence.

Understanding Minnesota’s Implied Consent Law

According to Minnesota Statute § 169A.51, any person who drives or operates a motor vehicle in Minnesota consents to a test of their breath to determine if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Essentially, this law is stating that if you are suspected of driving while under the influence, and you refuse to take a breath test, you can be reprimanded. Some of these penalties for a first-time refusal include a one-year license revocation and jail time.

What Happens If You Refuse?

The minute you refuse a breath test, the officer is legally required to inform you that the law states that you have already consented by driving, and the refusal is now considered a crime. The officer then must also inform you of your right to speak to an attorney. After you are informed of the law, you still have the right to make your own choice. Should you choose to refuse a test, you may be subjected to legal penalties. Refusal to submit to chemical testing is a gross misdemeanor in Minnesota.

It’s important to know that if you refuse to take a breath test, there are other tests you cannot refuse, like a blood test. If you are arrested after refusing the breath test, the officer is permitted to drive you to the nearest hospital and have your blood drawn and submitted for testing. This is typically only done for drivers who have had past DWI/DUI’s.

Understanding Your Rights

Under Minnesota law, the driver in question has the legal right to speak with an attorney prior to deciding to submit a blood alcohol concentration test. During this time, it’s crucial they contact an attorney if they have been arrested for drunk driving and are faced with submitting breath, blood, or urine tests.

If you have been arrested after refusing a breath test, make sure you have a trusted professional on your side. The attorneys at Barna, Guzy & Steffen can help you through this difficult time. Get in touch with us to discuss your case and start building a strong defense.