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What Is Implied Consent In Minnesota?

In Minnesota, the implied consent law means that if you are driving a motor vehicle within the state, you automatically consent to chemical testing to determine the presence of alcohol or controlled substances in your system. This law aims to facilitate the enforcement of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) laws by allowing prompt and efficient testing of those suspected of impaired driving.

If an officer pulls you over, the officer will likely request that you take a breath test, then request that you take Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs). Walk the line, for example. It is important to note that the results from a preliminary breath test are not admissible as evidence to establish your blood alcohol level in court. However, the outcomes from the breath test and FSTs may provide the officer with probable cause to arrest you. You have the option to decline these tests, though doing so may not prevent your arrest.

Following your arrest, the officer may ask you to take a formal breath test for evidentiary purposes or may obtain a warrant for a blood or urine test. Refusal to comply with this testing can result in more severe penalties than the DWI itself, including license revocation and possible criminal charges.

You have a right to consult with an attorney prior to taking the tests. Law enforcement will provide you the opportunity to speak with a lawyer right away. However, it is not permissible to intentionally delay the test to try to reduce your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC).

Exclusions Under Implied Consent Law

Drivers do not have to participate in field sobriety tests or preliminary screening tests, such as a roadside breath test. These tests are voluntary and refusal to take them is not subject to the automatic penalties with the refusal of formal chemical tests. Knowing what tests are mandatory and which are voluntary can significantly affect the legal proceedings in your DWI case.

What Are Drivers Required To Do When Stopped By Law Enforcement?

When drivers are stopped by law enforcement in Minnesota, they should follow several important steps to ensure the safety and smoothness of the interaction. As soon as you see a law enforcement vehicle signaling you to stop – typically with lights and/or a siren – safely pull over to the right side of the road; try to have your car completely off the traveled part of the road. Next:

  • Remain in your vehicle: Unless instructed otherwise, stay inside your vehicle. Exiting your vehicle without being asked could be perceived as aggressive or suspicious.
  • Turn off your engine: Turn off your engine and roll down your window. If it’s dark turn on your interior light. This allows clear visibility for the officer.
  • Keep your hands on the steering wheel: Avoid making sudden movements or reaching for items before letting the officer know you are doing so.
  • Provide your documents: Law enforcement will typically ask for your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. Wait until the officer requests these documents before retrieving them.
  • Be polite: Respond to the officer’s questions and follow instructions. Being courteous and cooperative can help to ensure a more positive interaction.
  • Wait for other instructions: After the officer reviews your documents and addresses the reason for the stop, they will provide further instructions. You may receive a citation or warning, and the officer will tell you when you are free to leave.

Once the officer says that you are free to leave, carefully merge back into traffic. Or not. You may be subject to an arrest for suspicion of DWI. If this is the case, you must follow lawful instructions but wait until you speak to an experienced defense lawyer to give any more information. You have a right to silence. Exercise that right.

The Importance Of Hiring A DWI Lawyer

Being arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol can be a terrifying experience. Hiring a DWI lawyer as soon as possible after your arrest is crucial to protect your driving privileges and rights to due process. Were your rights violated during your arrest? Were you stopped for discriminatory reasons, rather than for probable cause? Michael G. Martin is an experienced attorney who will help you understand the charges you are facing and your legal options going forward. Where appropriate, he will challenge the cause for the stop or the administration of chemical tests and negotiate reduced penalties or alternative resolutions. Contact defense attorney Michael G. Martin of MGM Law Office at 612-474-5568 for a free consultation to discuss your circumstances.