DWI Test Refusal

Twin Cities Area DWI Test Refusal Lawyer

Being stopped and accused of driving under the influence can be an overwhelming situation. This could be the first time an officer has stopped that person and investigated them for a crime. Sometimes when a person is asked to submit to a chemical test, he or she may be confused.

It is important to know that drivers have the right to refuse a chemical test. Refusal, however, does lead to criminal and administrative penalties. Drivers have the right to consult legal counsel, and an experienced Apple Valley drunk driving attorney can help you decide how to handle your DWI test.

DWI Chemical Test Refusal Attorney

If you have refused a DWI chemical test and are facing criminal and administrative consequences, an experienced attorney can help you fight for a favorable outcome. Contact former prosecutor and Apple Valley DWI test refusal lawyer James Blumberg.  He understands how the prosecution works and he can use his knowledge to help you build a strong defense.

James Blumberg Law represents clients throughout Dakota County, including Burnsville, Eagan, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Mendota Heights and Rosemount, as well as anywhere in the Twin Cities region, including Hennepin County, Ramsey County and Anoka County.

Information About DWI Test Refusal

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What are Chemical Tests?

Any person who drives, operates or is in physical control of a motor vehicle within Minnesota is deemed to have given his or her consent to a chemical test of that person’s blood, breath or urine for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol, a controlled substance or its metabolite or a hazardous substance, according to Minnesota Statute 169A.51.

This means when a person is stopped and charged with driving under the influence, a law enforcement officer can ask the person to submit to a chemical test. Most often, officers ask drivers to complete a breath test, which is used to detect if a person is intoxicated by alcohol. This gives the officer a clearer picture of the person’s alcohol concentration.

However, in instances where a person may be intoxicated by a controlled substance or a hazardous substance, officers likely would request the person submit to a blood or urine test, which, unlike a breath test, can detect metabolites of these substances.

A test could be required if an officer has probable cause to believe the person was driving, operating or in physical control of a motor vehicle and one of the following conditions existed:

  • The person has been placed under arrest
  • The person has been involved in a motor vehicle accident resulting in property damage, personal injury or death
  • The person has refused to take the preliminary screening test
  • The screening was administered and indicated an alcohol concentration greater than 0.08

A person who is unconscious or who is otherwise in a condition which makes the person incapable of refusal is deemed not to have withdrawn the consent, and the test may be given. For instance, if a person is unconscious after a vehicle accident, a blood test still could be completed.

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Requirements for Conducting Chemical Tests

When a blood test is administered, only a certain number of people can legally perform the test, including:

  • Physicians;
  • Medical technicians;
  • Emergency medical technician-paramedics;
  • Registered nurses;
  • Medical technologists;
  • Medical laboratory technicians;
  • Phlebotomists;
  • Laboratory assistants; and
  • Other qualified people acting at the request of an officer.

According to Minnesota law, a “qualified person” means medical personnel trained in a licensed hospital or educational institution to withdraw blood. This means someone other than those listed above could potentially perform the test, but he or she must be considered qualified.

 The person tested has the right to have someone of his or her choosing administer a chemical test in addition to any administered at the direction of a peace officer. However, it must be done where the person is in custody, after the test administered at the direction of a peace officer and at no expense to the state.

When a breath test is administered, the person administering the test must be fully trained in the administration of breath tests pursuant to training given by the commissioner of public safety.

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Implied Consent Advisory

If an officer requests additional chemical tests, he or she must advise the person of certain information. This is considered the implied consent advisory. The officer must inform the person that Minnesota law requires the test be taken to:

  • Determine if the person is under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances or hazardous substances;
  • Determine the presence of a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or II or metabolite, other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols; and
  • Determine the presence of alcohol, if the motor vehicle was a commercial vehicle.

The officer also must inform the person that refusing to take the test is a crime. If the officer has probable cause to believe the person has violated the criminal vehicular homicide and injury laws, he or she must inform the driver that a test will be taken with or without the person’s consent.

Additionally, the officer must inform the person that he or she has the right to consult with an attorney, but that this right is limited to the extent that it cannot unreasonably delay administration of the test.

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Penalties for Refusing a Chemical Test

Although a person has the right to refuse a chemical test, doing so could result in criminal and administrative penalties. When a person refuses, the officer must report the refusal to the commissioner of public safety and the authority handling DWI cases, according to Minnesota law.

Refusing a test could be considered a third-degree DWI, which is a gross misdemeanor. This is punishable by one year in jail, a $3,000 fine or both. There could be additional penalties, such as vehicle forfeiture.

If a person refuses the test, his or her driver’s license can be withdrawn immediately following the refusal. He or she would be given a seven-day temporary license to drive before the withdrawal becomes effective.  However, driving privileges could be lost for one year. It could be reducible to 90 days if he or she is convicted of a first-time DWI. 

A person with one prior DWI-related within the past 10 years could face a two-year suspension. If a person has two previous impaired driving incidents within the past 10 years, his or her license could be suspended for a minimum of three years.

Additionally, a person with three prior impaired driving incidences could face having his or her license suspended for a minimum of four years. Four or more impaired driving incidents within a 10-year period could mean at least a six-year suspension.

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{{$firm]] – A DWI Test Refusal Defense Lawyer in Dakota County

Refusing a DWI chemical test could change your life, but there are ways to protect your future and your driving privileges. Contact Dakota County DWI test refusal attorney James Blumberg of James Blumberg Law. He has years of experience as a prosecutor, which can help you when defending yourself against these harsh accusations. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation.