A traffic stop by law enforcement can lead to a confusing, frustrating experience. Some drivers become flustered and attempt to challenge the officer on not only the validity of the stop, but which testing procedures are legally allowed. The driver might believe he or she can refuse to participate in drug or alcohol screening and face no consequences. Unfortunately, this is untrue.
Minnesota is one of several states to have implied consent laws. Essentially, when an individual receives his or her driver’s license, they give their consent to participate in on-site impairment tests including chemical tests such as blood, breath or urine. The law implies consent in the sense that as soon as the traffic stop occurs, the law enforcement officer has the right to proceed with screening.
What penalties does a driver face upon refusal?
A driver in Minnesota can certainly refuse to participate in a breath test during a traffic stop, but they can face significant consequences, including:
- Loss of driving privileges
- Vehicle forfeiture
- Ignition interlock device
- Plate impound
Drivers face increasingly significant penalties with each subsequent infraction.
It is important to remember that driving impairment can be caused by drugs, alcohol or strong prescription medication. Drivers in Minnesota have provided their implied consent to participate in screening during a traffic stop when they first accept their driver’s license.
Even if you believe your rights are being violated, refusal to take a chemical test can result in devastating, long-term consequences. It is wise to politely follow the law enforcement officer’s instructions and contact a strong criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.