In Minnesota, if an officer arrests you for driving a vehicle or a boat, the implied consent law makes it a crime to refuse a test to establish your blood alcohol concentration (BAC), a test of intoxication. Given that, what are the penalties and advisability of refusing to take the test?
The penalty for refusing to take a breath, blood, or urine test to establish your BAC within two hours of arrest is a revocation of your license of a minimum period of one year.
Generally, the length of revocation is determined by whether or not you have ever had a previous conviction for a DWI. If you haven’t, the period will be one year. If you have, then the court will add a year for each prior conviction. So, if you have had one previous conviction, you will receive a license revocation of two years: one for the current refusal, and one for the prior DWI.
Although there is an implied consent law, you cannot physically be forced to take a test. However, the law specifies that you may be subject to a test without an officer formally notifying you of the law if you are unconscious or have been killed.
Given the penalty, should you refuse to take the test? You should weigh the idea carefully. A prosecutor could use the fact of your refusal in court, arguing that the refusal occurred because you suspected you were over the legal limit.