Refusing a Breathalyzer in Minnesota

Refusing a Breathalyzer in Minnesota

There are plenty of misnomers out there about DWI law. Many people think that refusing a breathalyzer deprives the prosecution of any physical evidence that the person was actually intoxicated.

There are also people who think that refusing a breathalyzer is smarter than having a high blood alcohol content (B.A.C.) on record and face harsher penalties.

Still others consider it better to refuse the test than to have a repeat offense (at least 2nd DUI in the last 10 years) and be confronted with higher penalties as a repeat offender.

Whatever the reason that people refuse the test; the actual results can be to their benefit or detriment depending on each situation and how the case is handled by the defense.

Implied Consent

Most states, including Minnesota, have what is called “implied consent” upon being issued a drivers license. This implied consent means that the act of applying for and receiving a license is consent to adhere to the traffic rules and regulations of the state, to pull over for police officers and to submit to a breathalyzer and surrender blood, urine or hair upon request. Ergo, the act of having a license is the same as signing a binding legal contract agreeing to the above.

Somehow, most of us missed that day in class or have never heard of it. That’s why citizens give officers such a hard time about their constitutional rights. Well, of course an officer can’t hold you down and make you give him your hair and bodily fluids. However, not following through on your “contract” with the state for giving you a license by refusing, inherently means that you have penalties with the State Department of Motor Vehicles (D.M.V.) at the least and criminal charges as well in most states; including Minnesota.

Police Rarely Just Charge You With a Refusal

Actually, the Police almost NEVER just charge a person with refusal to submit to a breathalyzer or chemical test. Remember the reason why you were pulled over in the first place? It is not the police officers’ job to prove anything to a judge or jury. Rather, it is a police officer’s job (at least in this instance) to look out for people driving drunk, when they suspect that they see a drunk driver to pull them over and investigate, to assess the situation, charge the suspect with whatever crimes the officer believes to have evidence towards and collect as much evidence as possible for the district


What Case Do They Have Without Proof?

In a refusal of breathalyzer case; the officer will also issue a ticket for DUI based upon evidence such as your field sobriety test, witness testimony and what you said at the scene. Generally, people are arrested in these situations and walk away with a fistful of tickets for as much as the officers could think of.

This is why a defense attorney is so essential in any DUI case. An attorney can get the charges reduced by knowing different statutes and case law to make deals with the prosecution and even get charges dismissed at times.

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