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Minnesota chemical testing for DWI including blood, breath or urine testing
 

Minnesota's Implied Consent Law - Chemical Testing
Drunk Driving, Minnesota  DWI, Implied Consent, Chemical Testing, Blood , Breath or Urine Testing


Minnesota's laws include an Implied Consent law.  It assumes that each person who drives, operates or is in control of any type of motor vehicle anywhere in the state has consented to a chemical test of his/her breath, blood or urine for purposes of determining the presence of alcohol  or controlled or hazardous substances in the person's body.  All states have similar laws.

A police officer must have probable cause to believe that the person is guilty of impaired driving to request such a test, AND

  1. the person has been arrested for a DWI violation;
  2. the person has been involved in a motor vehicle crash;
  3. the person has refused to take a DWI screening test a where there was a reasonable articulable suspicion of impaired driving to request the screening test  or preliminary breath test; or
  4. the person has taken a screening test that was administered properly based on a reasonable and articulable suspicion of impaired driving which resulted in a AC of .08 or more. ]

To determine whether or not probable cause exists to seek a blood, breath or urine test, the officer may rely on the totality of the circumstance which may include:

  1. observations of aberrant driving conduct;
  2. stopping the vehicle and detecting indicia of intoxication by the driver which may include watery or bloodshot eyes, a scent of alcohol, slurred speech, a lack of dexterity by the driver or difficulty in understanding and responding to questions posed by the officer;
  3. if there is a reasonable articulable suspicion that the driver is intoxicated, the officer may administer any one or more of potential field sobriety tests  and/or administer a preliminary breath test (PBT). 

If, based on the screening tests, the officer has probable cause to believe that the person is guilty of impaired driving/DWI, he/she may arrest the driver and, after a period of observation, seek a more accurate test such as a breath, blood or urine test.   Before any test is administered, the officer must read to the driver an Implied Consent Advisory advising the driver of his/rights which would include telling the driver that a refusal to test is a crime and that they may consult with a lawyer before any testing occurs. The officer must provide the driver with telephone books and a phone if a lawyer is requested and a reasonable time period to reach that attorney must be afforded.

Under Minnesota law, if a person is unconscious or otherwise unable to provide consent to a test, consent is deemed not to have been drawn, It is implied consent.  As a result a chemical test may be administered.  there has been significant debate as to what may render a person incapable of providing consent and it is an issue that has been challenged  and redefined by the courts. 

Contrary to some common beliefs, the officer, not the driver, chooses whether a test will be of the person's breath, blood or urine.   However, a person who refuses the blood or urine test must be offered an alternative.  Blood tests are sealed before the driver and sent to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) for testing. 

If a driver does not provide an adequate breath, blood or urine sample, they may be charged with a refusal to test. However, it is a defense to that refusal charge if the refusal was reasonable.  An physical inability to provide a sample is a defense to the charge.   This may occur if a person suffers from a physical ailment, has limited lung capacity or is significantly dehydrated.


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