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Can You Refuse a Sobriety Test in Minnesota?

Can You Refuse a Sobriety Test in Minnesota?

The Minnesota DUI attorneys at Sheridan & Dulas, P. A. understand the many adverse effects that a DWI charge can have on a person’s life (loss of driving privileges, loss of income, hefty fines, jail time, diminished public opinion, etc.) and will fight charges on your behalf.  In fact, our team has represented people of all ages and backgrounds, and we have seen every kind of impaired driving scenario imaginable. This post explores some frequently asked questions related to DUI/DWI charges in the state of Minnesota. If you have questions about your specific case, give us a call at 651-686-8800 to schedule your individualized consultation.  

What is a Sobriety Test?

When discussing sobriety tests, it is helpful to make the distinction between Chemical Tests like the breathalyzer, which measure the level of alcohol or drugs in your body (although their accuracy is always open to debate), and Field Sobriety Tests which are behavioral tests that are ostensibly used by police in the field to confirm their suspicion that any given driver is impaired as a result of drug or alcohol consumption. The driver is given several related tasks that are supposed to assess balance, coordination, and the ability of the driver to successfully divide his or her attention. These are more subjective tests but are absolutely admissible as evidence in court.

Can I legally refuse a sobriety test?

This is something that many drivers are confused about. When it comes to field sobriety tests in Minnesota, you can, in fact, turn down the opportunity to perform in front of law enforcement. Let’s face it, field sobriety tests are often unflattering and unnerving because, for most of us, it is a completely new experience. Poor coordination, problems with balance, or nervousness does not indicate that you have been drinking.  You could fail one of these regardless of your partaking (or not partaking) in alcohol consumption. The sad truth is that you have very little to gain from engaging in this kind of song and dance with law enforcement. That’s because even if you do OK on a field sobriety test, the officers present can still move on to a breath test.  While it is true that you can refuse a field sobriety test at the point where you are pulled over, it is unlawful in our great state to refuse a blood, urine, or breath test at the police station once they have you in custody. So, if an officer is convinced that you have been drinking and driving, you may still be evaluated. There are some benefits, however, to putting off police-administered sobriety tests of any kind.  Once you do finally take them at the station, those tests might demonstrate that you were not completely sober (as the cops suspected), yet you were still below the legal limit for BAC while driving. If you have any doubt how close to the line you are, not taking the field sobriety test until arriving at the police station may allow enough time to pass to sufficiently lower your level of intoxication and thereby help your case in the end. Regardless, if you are arrested, you will want to exercise your right to talk to an attorney who understands Minnesota DWI laws ASAP.

What are my rights if I am arrested for a DWI?

Suffice it to say that the cops do not hold all the power - you have powerful constitutional rights. Sure, the flashing lights and handcuffs may be intimidating, humiliating, and debilitating in the moment, but they do not negate the fact that you still have the right to refuse a police search of your vehicle, the right to remain silent, and the right to have an attorney present for any questioning.   Invoking the latter is always a good idea and it can help you avoid making any costly missteps in front of the arresting officers. At our law firm, the guiding principle in such matters is that you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by fighting a drunk driving charge. And during your initial consultation, you will get to see exactly how hard we are willing to fight on your behalf. From our conveniently located offices in Eagan, we can handle DUI or DWI cases in Dakota County, the Twin Cities area, and throughout the state of Minnesota.

Do I need a DWI attorney?

If you have been charged with a DWI in Minnesota, you need a DWI attorney. While every situation is different, there is simply too much at stake not to retain the best DWI attorneys in Eagan, Minnesota. Once you contact our office, we’ll begin building a strong defense. We approach each case with the goal of having the case dismissed or winning your acquittal at trial.  At Sheridan & Dulas, P.A., we know full well that it can be overwhelming to be charged with a crime and hard to know what to do first. If you have been arrested for DUI/DWI, all you have to do right now is contact us online and let us handle the rest of the details. Call our office today at 651-686-8800 to set up your free, no-obligation consultation.

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