By now, you have probably already heard that the Twins’ pitching coach, Neil Allen, was arrested for DWI after refusing to take a Breathalyzer test in the early morning hours of May 26, 2016. With this arrest, he has been suspended, and his career is in jeopardy with the Twins. Can police arrest someone for DWI when they refuse to take a breath test? The answer is yes.
Implied consent law in Minnesota
Minnesota employs the “implied consent” law. That means any individual who operates or is in control of a vehicle within the state consents to a breath, blood or urine test. Specifically, one must acquiesce to a chemical test so authorities can assess a driver’s blood-alcohol content (BAC).The test is carried out at the direction of law enforcement when probable cause exists and:
The person has been detained for a drunk driving violation;
The individual has been in an accident;
The individual refuses a drunk driving preliminary screening test (PBT); or
The suspect agreed to the PBT test, but it reads at .08 or higheer.
The BAC test must be administered within two hours of vehicle operation. Before making the decision about testing, one has the right to consult with an attorney; however, this privilege is limited in duration, as the test cannot be unreasonably delayed.
If a person refuses the test at the time of the investigation, he or she is in violation of Minnesota’s implied consent law. A test refusal will result in an automatic one-year driver’s license revocation.
As in Allen’s case, test refusal will not prevent an arrest for drunk driving. If the officer has probable cause based on other existing evidence, authorities may arrest a motorist anyway. This is true regardless of whether BAC information is available.
At this time, the implied consent laws are under review in the state. If you would like to learn more about Minnesota’s drunk driving laws, please visit our website.