Thanks to the Internet, residents in Minnesota and the world over have a wealth of knowledge at their finger tips. If you have questions and need answers, you simply have to type it into a search engine and out pops hundreds of sites that can provide you with insight. But how do you know you can trust the information you’re being given? Moreover, how do you know that the information applies to your situation?
Take for example traffic stops in which a police officer suspects drunk driving. Typically, an officer will ask a driver to submit to a breath test to see if their suspicion is correct. But according to many sites on the Internet, the best response to a situation such as this is to refuse to take the test. Some argue this protects your rights better than if you agreed to submit to the test in the first place. Unfortunately, most places where this advice it cited don’t tell you that breath test refusal isn’t always the best response to all DUI/DWI stops. In fact, in Minnesota refusing to take a breath test can land you in deep trouble.
Just like in a few other states, Minnesota has what is called an implied consent law. Upon application for a Minnesota driver’s license, residents automatically consent to chemical testing during traffic stops. Though there has been much contention surrounding the existence of this law, it continues to apply in our state.
But can you refuse to take a breath test? Though the answer is yes, because no one is in fact forcing you to take the test, it’s considered by many legal experts to be a terrible idea. That’s because breath test refusal is a crime in Minnesota (§169A.51 Subd. 2. (2)). If you refuse preliminary testing during a traffic stop, you can be arrested and taken into a police station. On top of that, your driving privileges may also be affected as well.
While the Internet made it easier for us to get information, it didn’t necessarily mean we’d always get sound advice. That’s why we wanted to set the record straight for our readers here in Minnesota in today’s post.