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Chemical Testing in Minnesota

Minnesota has an implied consent law that assumes that any person who drives, operates or is in control of any motor vehicle has agreed to a chemical test or breath, blood or urine to determine the BAC or presence of any controlled or hazardous substance in the body.  The test is administered by a law enforcement officer if there is probable cause that the driver has committed a DWI violation and the driver:

-has been arrested for a DWI violation;

-has been involved in a motor vehicle crash;

-has refused to take the DWI screening test; or

-has taken the screening test and it shows BAC of .08 or more.

 

The law enforcement officer may follow these procedures to establish probable cause:

-observe the impaired driving behavior to form a reasonable suspicion of an impaired driving violation

-stop and questionthe driver

-Administer a standardized field sobriety test (SFST)

-Administer a preliminary breath test (PBT)

If the officer has probable cause to believe that a DWI crime has occurred based on the screening tests, then they may arrest the person and demand a more rigorous evidentiary test of the person’s breath, blood, or urine. Before administering the evidentiary test, the officer must read the implied consent advisory statement to the person to explain that testing is mandatory, test refusal is a crime and the person has the right to consult an attorney before taking the test. If the evidentiary test is requested and the officer did not give the advisory, then the person may be criminally charged and prosecuted following test failure or refusal, but the various administrative sanctions (i.e. license revocation, license plate impoundment or vehicle forfeiture) cannot be applied.

Since Minnesota has implied consent law, every driver or motorist who operates a motor vehicle on the roads of Minnesota has implicitly consented to taking a preliminary breath test or standardized field sobriety test, if there is reasonable suspicion that they are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  Therefore if someone is unconscious, they have already consented to a preliminary test of sobriety and their consent is deemed not to have been withdrawn, therefore, the chemical test may be administered.  The officer chooses whether the test will be of the person’s breath, blood, or urine. A person who refuses a blood or urine test must be offered another type of test (breath, blood, or urine).


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