Understanding the Minnesota Implied Consent Law
Under Minnesotaís implied consent law, any individual who chooses to operate, drive or be in control of a motor vehicle is automatically assumed to have consented to a blood, urine or breath test. These tests are used to determine whether there is a presence of alcohol or any other controlled or hazardous substance in a personís body.
The chemical test is only administered after a police officer has established probable cause to believe that a DWI violation has been committed, and the driver has consequently been arrested for DWI.
Establishing Probable Cause
There is probable cause when a police officer has reason to suspect a DWI violation after carefully observing an individualís impaired driving behavior. Probable cause is established by an officerís observations of careless or erratic driving prior to the initial traffic stop. Other factors that may cause an officer to establish probable cause are signs of slurred speech, watery and bloodshot eyes, and the driverís overall appearance.
The officer may ask the driver to perform certain field sobriety tests, and may ask the driver to perform a preliminary breath test to confirm his belief of possible impairment.
Once probable cause has been established, the officer may arrest the driver and request that he or she take the evidentiary urine, blood or breath test upon reading the Minnesota Implied Consent Advisory to the driver. This statement explains that the test is mandatory, and that the refusal to take this test is considered a crime. The driver, of course, has the right to consult with an attorney before taking the test.
If the driver refuses to take a certain test, he will then be offered another form of the test. The rational behind this is that an individual might be adverse to needles, or may not be able to physically urinate when told to do so. They should not be charged for refusal based on these facts.
If a person is unconscious, however, then the individualís consent is deemed not to be withdrawn and the test may be administered. The officer decides whether to administer a blood, urine, or breath test.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Douglas Kans - Kans Law Firm, LLC
Douglas Kans is a respected Minneapolis criminal defense attorney with 17 years of experience defending individuals charged with DWI and other crimes.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.