Because of viral YouTube videos and extensive discussion threads on the Internet, the debate over whether or not to submit to a breath test during a traffic stop has continued to spark national interest. It seems like everyone, from Minnesotans to residents in other states, has an opinion on the issue. Yet, because laws differ from state to state, it’s still impossible to answer the lingering question: do you refuse or accept an officer’s request to take a breath test?
If you’re an avid reader of our blog, then you know that we have touched on this issue in the past. From our July 2014 post on implied consent laws in Minnesota, to our post in February regarding the penalties a person could face if they refuse to take a breath test, our readers can see that our state laws are clear — refusing to submit to a breath test can have consequences.
Even though our implied consent laws do state that a Minnesota driver is subject to chemical testing if an officer believes that they are operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a person may still want to refuse testing. In some cases, this may happen because a person wants to make sure that their rights are being protected and would rather have an attorney at their side before they submit to chemical testing. In other cases, a person may refuse because they know that breath tests can be inaccurate and would rather submit to more accurate testing.
Whatever the reason behind a person’s refusal, our readers should know that Minnesota law is clear: refusing to take a test is a crime and you could face penalties as a result. As important as it is to know the consequences before having to make the decision in real life, it’s just as important to know that you do have the right to an attorney and should exercise this right if you are ever in doubt of what you can and cannot do in a drunk-driving stop.