Thursday, May 3, 2012
Minnesota Implied Consent Law (Explained)
Believe it or not - any individual who chooses to drive, operate, or be in physical control of a motor vehicle is assumed to have already consented to a breath, urine, or blood test to determine the presence of alcohol or hazardous or controlled substance in the body. (See ... the things you probably didn't know that you didn't know --- this is why you need to speak to a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.) This chemical test is administered only after a police officer has established that there is probable cause to believe a Drunk Driving violation has occurred and that the person has been subsequently placed under arrest.
When is Probable Cause Established?
Probable cause exists only after a police officer reasonably suspects an impaired driving violation by observing impaired driving behavior. This is usually accomplished when the officer observes any erratic driving conduct prior to the traffic stop. It can also be effectuated after the officer stops a driver - in their subsequent interaction. (Here, the cop is looking for slurred speech, bloodshot watery eyes and the accused's overall appearance.) The officer will also critique the driver’s performance on some Field Sobriety Tests. Generally, after these tests a thorough officer will ask the driver to perform a preliminary breath test ("PBT") test to confirm his belief of impairment.
If an officer believes that probable has been established, the officer may then place the driver under arrest and (only) after reading the Minnesota Implied Consent Advisory, request an evidentiary breath, urine, or blood sample.
The officer is required to read the advisory - explaining that the test is mandatory, refusal to take the test is a crime, and the driver has the right to consult or speak with an attorney before agreeing to take the test. The individual is given a “reasonable period” of time under the “totality of circumstances” standard to contact an attorney.
Blood or Urine?
It is the officer that decides whether to administer a breath, urine or blood test. The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) analyzes blood and urine samples and forwards the results to Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS).
If a driver is asked to take a blood test - the individual can refuse - and the officer has to be afforded him or the chance to take breath or urine test. That right to refuse also extends to urine - meaning that you can say "no" and the officer has to offer blood or breath. (The rational is that some individuals are adverse to needles and they shouldn’t be charged with the crime of refusal simply because of this fact. The same rational applies to those who are offered a urine test, but for some reason are not able to physically urinate at the time.) However, if you're offered a breath test - you are required to do as much - or you do subject yourself to possible legal consequences.
What Should You Do?
My suggestion to anyone facing a legal dilemma is "talk to a lawyer." Honestly, you only get one chance (all too often) to take on these things. Get the answers you need to make the next right decision - your future could depend on it. Call the Rolloff Law Office today at (612) 234-1165 to set up a FREE Consultation.