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Minnesota’s Implied Consent Laws: Refusing DWI Chemical Testing

by Jul 5, 2022Criminal Defense Attorney, DWI / DUI, Kevin Sieben

Implied consent means that when a driver chooses to get behind the wheel, they are consenting to a sobriety test. Minnesota’s implied consent laws are meant to encourage drivers to comply with testing, and they impose penalties on any driver who refuses to take a test. Some drivers may wonder whether it’s worth the risk to refuse chemical testing during a traffic stop for suspected DWI. Here’s what to consider.

Probable Cause to Take A Test

A law enforcement officer can ask a driver to take a chemical test with probable cause, which requires one of the following conditions:

  • The driver was involved in an automobile collision that caused property damage, injury, or death
  • The law enforcement officer has arrested the driver for DWI
  • The driver refuses a breath test
  • The driver’s breathalyzer result is 0.08 or higher BAC

It’s important to note that Minnesota consent laws do give you a right to decline to take the preliminary breathalyzer test. However, you can be charged with a crime for refusing a subsequent test. Even if you initially decline to take a test, you will be subjected to some sort of chemical testing – blood, urine, or breath – while you are in custody. If you refuse a breath test, you may have your license suspended for a year. Refusing the test is a crime; the charge will likely be added to your DWI charge and will subsequently increase the severity of your punishment. The MN 3rd degree DWI statute states that a defendant will be charged with a 3rd degree DWI if they refuse to submit to a chemical test. 

Minnesota drug testing statutes dictate that blood cannot be drawn for a drug or alcohol screening without a warrant. This type of warrantless test was determined to be a violation of the Fourth Amendment if the suspect has not consented. Law enforcement also needs a warrant to collect a urine sample from a suspect. 

Should You Refuse A DWI Chemical Test?

DWI test refusal in MN is a risky strategy for a driver who is suspected of driving while intoxicated. If you are confident that you are not intoxicated, there is usually no need to refuse the test. But if you refused a breath, urine, or blood test because you were intoxicated during a traffic stop, a DWI refusal attorney may help you fight for a lesser charge. Any time you have questions about a DWI charge, it’s worth consulting a criminal defense attorney in Minnesota to consider your options.


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