When someone is arrested for driving under the influence, the police will administer breath and blood tests to the individual to ensure they get an appropriate reading of their blood alcohol content. Refusing to take a breath test can lead to serious consequences. In Minnesota, implied consent means you have to take a breath test at some point — though you do have the right to refuse a preliminary breath test.
However, what happens when you think you’ve consented to a breath test, but a police officer — and the courts — determines that you actually refused the breath test? Such a case was recently determined, and the results were not good for the accused individual.
A woman was accused of driving drunk in 2012, and after she was pulled over, the police officer at the scene asked is she consented to a breath test. It was a yes-or-no question. The woman gave a more convoluted response, saying things such as “do I have a choice?” and “I’m not refusing.”
These answers may seem like the woman is acquiescing to the officer and allowing the officer to perform a breath test. But a court, which heard the woman’s appeal of a charge that she refused a breath test, agreed with the prosecution. They determined her responses constituted refusing a breath test.
Even the smallest of details can be criticized or analyzed in a drunk driving case, and this is a great example of that. It didn’t work out for the defendant, but it is an important lesson that any element can make or break a DWI case.
Source: Daily Journal, “Gloucester County woman loses breath test appeal,” Jim Walsh, July 14, 2014