DUI implied consent law means ignorance of the law is no excuse

Who reads the fine print? Perhaps not many, and usually there are no repercussions. But, when it comes to driving on the Minnesota roadways, there is some important fine print found in the laws. It involves what the law says you consent to by virtue of just operating a vehicle on those roadways. Because the law creates the consent, the name of the law is implied consent.

In essence, you consent to a breath test for intoxication under many situations. If there is a belief of probable cause by a requesting officer that you have been driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol, you may have legally consented to a breath under the following conditions:

  • The officer arrests you for driving while impaired
  • You were in an accident causing damage even if not arrested
  • The officer requests that you perform the sobriety screening test and you refuse to
  • You agreed to and did perform the screening test and the test indicated you have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or more

Until a recently decided United States Supreme Court decision, the chemical test that you as an individual may have consented to, whether you did in reality or not, included a blood test. However, the Court ruled that a blood test now requires a court warrant, unlike the breath test.

The consequences of refusing a sobriety test can be immediate, including having your vehicle removed from the scene without you in it and even forfeiture of that asset. Law enforcement can also revoke your license.

A refusal is also often easier to prove than the actual DWI. But, courts can still find you guilty of the DWI in addition to the refusal. If there is other strong evidence of being intoxicated, such as the officer observing you stumbling or slurring your words or other strong evidence, the courts may find you guilty of DWI without a breath test.

Before you refuse a breath test for intoxication, make sure you consider what the law will say you consented to just by driving on the roads and the penalties that may result from the mere refusal.

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