The case of Michelle MacDonald, a Minnesota Supreme Court candidate, highlights a possibility that all drivers face if they’re arrested for DWI.
According to local news reports, MacDonald was recently convicted of “refusing to submit to a chemical test” following an incident in which she was pulled over by a police officer. Even though she was acquitted in court of a misdemeanor DWI charge, she was found guilty of refusing the chemical test, which is a gross misdemeanor under Minnesota Law.
What does this charge mean?
Sometimes, drivers are required by law to take a chemical test (blood, urine, or breath); they also need to do so within a certain window of time (2 hours). This requirement applies to the following situations:
- When drivers have been arrested for DWI.
- When drivers have been involved in a serious accident (such as one resulting in death, serious injury, or damage to property) – they don’t need to be arrested under these circumstances for the chemical test to be a requirement.
This chemical test is not to be confused with a preliminary breath test or another field sobriety test that officers can administer before they arrest you; you can legally refuse a field sobriety test.
The chemical test, on the other hand, if not taken can be charged with refusing to submit to a chemical test.
Police conduct requirements
The administration of a chemical test needs to be in accordance with the law. A Minneapolis DWI lawyer can help you determine if your arrest, for example, was lawful and based on probable cause; if it wasn’t, then it may not be appropriate for prosecutors to charge you with refusing to submit to a chemical test.
Police officers need to give you a chance to talk to your lawyer before the test (so long as the discussion with your attorney isn’t so lengthy that you pass the two-hour window of time). Police also have to inform you that this test is required and in contrast, when it comes to a field sobriety test, they should tell you that you can legally refuse.
Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your chemical test and any other issues surrounding a DWI arrest or your interactions with police following a serious accident. You deserve to know your rights and to be treated fairly by the criminal justice system.