What Is The Implied Consent Law And How Does It Effect My Driving Privileges?

man driving car

Minneapolis DWI Lawyer Kirk Anderson Fights For You

DWI/DUIs are taken very seriously in Minnesota due to the potential harm that an accident can cause. When a police officer believes that someone is driving under the influence, they have the right to pull you over and question you about your sobriety.

The day you received your driver’s license is the day you publicly agreed to follow the rules of the road. Occasionally, we forget that fact and misbehave. But there is a law that protects the state, and potential victims, from harm: The Implied Consent Law. But, what is this law, and what happens if you break it?

What Is The Implied Consent Law?

Your legal driver’s license is a contract that you personally have with the state directly implying that you will abide by Minnesota driving laws and always consent to testing for impairments when asked by authorities who have probable cause. This is true in all other states as well as in Minnesota.

If a police officer has probable cause to arrest you or believes that you are under the influence of a mind-altering substance, they have the right to ask you to take the breathalyzer test. They will also request to test you if you have been involved in a car accident that has damaged property or injured someone. An officer does not need a warrant to test your breath.

Recent changes in the law dictate that an officer does NOT have the right to force you to take a blood or urine test instead of, or with, a breathalyzer. This crosses a line and the state must issue a valid warrant for such testing if the need exists, such as in an accidental vehicular homicide, for example. Contact a lawyer immediately if an officer attempts to force you to take such tests. 

Implied Consent’s Effects On DWI/DUI

The arresting officer should read you the implied consent advisory statement that outlines your rights in the situation. You should be advised by the arresting officer that you can have time to contact an attorney before taking the test, but the contact must be made almost immediately or you could be accused of delaying the test until your BAC lowers on its own.

Refusing to take the breathalyzer test will result in an enhanced DWI/DUI charge and an arrest for a gross misdemeanor where the consequences are usually harsher than if you simply fail the test. A brief discussion with your attorney will shed light on whether you should take the test or refuse. Whether you accept or refuse depends on how intoxicated you are versus the consequences of the refusal.

Charges relating to driving while intoxicated or under the influence can result in the revocation of your license, plate impoundment, or complete vehicle forfeit, depending on the severity of the crime. These sanctions can accompany jail time and fines that you may receive for breaking your contract with the state. Consequences can be harsh.

DWI/DUI Offenses And Consequences

A first DWI/DUI offense is usually considered a misdemeanor, or a fourth-degree DWI/DUI, that can result in up to ninety days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. A refusal to take the test can cost you one year in jail and a fine of up to $3,000. You can lose your driving privileges for up to ninety days. For each subsequent offense, mandatory minimum sentences are often given as well as higher and higher fines.

second offense, within ten years of the first offense, comes with a mandatory minimum of thirty days in jail. A third offense maintains a mandatory minimum of ninety days in jail. A fourth offense carries a minimum of 180 days and a fifth maintains a full-year minimum sentence, and so on.

The consequences of a breathalyzer test refusal increase with each DWI/DUI that you receive and the first, alone, could bring your charge up to a third-degree gross misdemeanor. A refusal can also eliminate your driving privileges for up to two years, for the first offense. Any prior DWI/DUIs will further increase the consequences you accrue with a refusal.

How Can A DWI/DUI Lawyer Help Me?

A qualified and experienced DWI/DUI attorney can argue for alternative sentencing instead of the mandatory minimums required by the state. Rehabilitation, community service, and probation are always options. A knowledgeable and aggressive attorney can help you get your license back quicker and with fewer restrictions, for example, with the use of an Ignition Interlock Device.

A great lawyer will pay attention to every detail and do whatever they can to lessen or dismiss your charges. They will look for weaknesses and inaccuracies in the prosecution’s case and negotiate with them for the best possible outcome. A compassionate lawyer knows that one mistake should not ruin your life.

Contact our team at Anderson Law Firm, PLLC for a free consultation of your case. Kirk Anderson‘s extensive experience and proven results will get you the best resolution available. Give us a call at 952-582-2904 and we’ll start building a solid defense, together.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.