Minnesota DWI Basics: The Minnesota Implied Consent Law & Test Refusal Crime
The Minnesota Implied Consent Law
The Minnesota Implied Consent Law requires that anyone who “drives, operates, or is in physical control” of a motor vehicle in Minnesota consents to be subject to Minnesota DWI Law and the Implied Consent Law. The Implied Consent Law further requires a person to submit to a chemical test of their blood, breath, or urine (or face a criminal charge for test refusal) when a peace officer has probable cause to believe the person has violated Minnesota DWI law (and other specific circumstances exist).
The purpose of the chemical test is to determine the presence of alcohol, a controlled substance or its metabolite, or a hazardous substance, and the test must be given at the direction of a peace officer (e.g. a police officer).
When a Chemical Test Can Be Requested
A peace officer has the option of requesting a chemical test when they have probable cause to believe a person was driving, operating, or in physical control of a motor vehicle in violation of the DWI law, and at least one of the following conditions exist:
- the person has been lawfully placed under arrest for violation of Minnesota’s DWI law (or an ordinance in conformity with it);
- the person has been involved in a motor vehicle accident or collision resulting in property damage, personal injury, or death;
- the person has refused to take the screening test (preliminary screening test/portable breath test (PBT)); or
- the screening test was administered and indicated an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more.
The test may also be required of a person when a peace officer has probable cause to believe the person was driving, operating, or in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle with the presence of any alcohol.
Implied Consent Advisory
The Implied Consent Advisory is a provision of Minnesota’s Implied Consent Law which requires the peace officer to inform the suspect of the following before requesting a chemical test submission:
- Minnesota law requires the person to take the test:
- to determine if the person is under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, or hazardous substances;
- to determine the presence of a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or II or metabolite, other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols; and
- if the motor vehicle was a commercial motor vehicle, to determine the presence of alcohol;
- that refusal to take a test is a crime;
- if the peace officer has probable cause to believe the person has violated the criminal vehicular homicide and injury laws, that a test will be taken with or without the person’s consent;
- that the person 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.
The Test Refusal Crime & Administrative Penalties
It is a crime in Minnesota to refuse to submit to a chemical test of blood, breath, or urine under the Implied Consent Law. The criminal penalties depend on the unique circumstances of the case and the prior record of the defendant. As an example, a typical first-time DWI offender who is charged with test refusal is subject to a gross misdemeanor level offense (up to one year in jail and/or up to a $3,000.00 fine).
In addition to the criminal penalties associated with the Implied Consent Law & Test Refusal Crime, there are also significant administrative penalties.
Test Refusal Penalties
There are significant administrative penalties (e.g. license revocation) which apply to test refusal under the Implied Consent Law (i.e. when a peace officer has probable cause to believe a suspect has violated the DWI law and they refuse to submit to a chemical test).
Specifically, a peace officer can immediately serve a notice of intention to revoke/revocation on a suspect on behalf of the Commissioner of Public Safety upon test refusal, and also must take the following steps:
- invalidate the person’s driver’s license or permit card by clipping the upper corner of the card in such a way that no identifying information including the photo is destroyed, and immediately return the card to the person;
- issue the person a temporary license effective for only seven days; and
- send the notification of this action to the commissioner along with the required certificate.
The period of license revocation and/or other administrative penalties depends on the unique circumstances of the case and the record of the offender. As an example, the period of license revocation is one year for a first-time test refusal offender.
Test Refusal Criminal Conviction Penalties
In addition to the administrative penalties for test refusal under the Implied Consent Law, there are also administrative penalties (e.g. license revocation) which result from a test refusal criminal conviction.
The period of license revocation and/or other administrative penalties depends on the unique circumstances of the case and the record of the offender. As an example, the period of license revocation is 90 days for a first-time test refusal offender.
References & Resources
- Minnesota DWI Law: Minn. Stat. Ch. 169A
- Minnesota Implied Consent Law: Minn. Stat. Sec. 169A.51
- Minnesota Test Refusal Crime: Minn. Stat. Sec. 169A.51, Subd. 2
The following is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Although the following information is deemed accurate and current, statutory and case law change frequently and the following information should not be relied upon as authoritative.