The state of Minnesota is known for its strict laws regulating driving while intoxicated. In some cases, the law is clear, however three recent appellate court decisions have led to some uncertainty. Depending on the type of DWI charge, and the number of times that a defendant has faced a charge, consequences range from fines to lengthy jail times. It’s important for those facing such a charge to consult with a St. Paul DWI lawyer to review their rights and responsibilities.
What Sets Minnesota Apart
Minnesota is one of the few states in the country that considers refusal to take a blood alcohol test a crime. This is the case, even if the police do not have a warrant. Minnesota’s implied consent law says that if you are arrested by an official with probable cause, then you consent to taking a chemical test to measure your blood alcohol content. This consent is also implied if you are involved in an accident involving property damage, death or significant injury. Officers are required to tell suspects that Minnesota law requires a blood alcohol test and that refusal is considered a crime.
The constitutionality of this law is now being questioned, both locally and nationally. This standing rule is under fire because the courts recently ruled that a warrant is needed if the test involves blood or urine. Though breath tests are the most common, this ruling still changes the landscape of Minnesota DWI laws.
Minnesota safety officials say that over 2,502 drivers were arrested on DWI charges over the recent holiday season, which spanned from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. Law enforcement takes a tough stance on DWI offenders, which is why they should work with a St. Paul DWI lawyer who understands the laws and the implications of expected changes.
What’s Next for Minnesota DWI Laws?
Minnesota has now been placed on the national stage, because the United States Supreme Court will be reviewing its test refusal law to determine if it is constitutional. For now, blood and urine tests have been set apart, and the fate of warrants for breath tests remains up in the air. This means that some cases have been placed on hold, until a final decision has been made. For now, refusal to take a breath test is still against the law, but in the coming months, this could certainly change.