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DWI Breath Test Refusal in Minnesota

Understanding Minnesota’s Implied Consent Law

According to Minnesota Statute § 169A.51, any person who drives or operates a motor vehicle in the state consents to a chemical test of their breath for the purpose of determining if they are under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. This is known as “implied consent.” Essentially, if you are suspected of driving while intoxicated (DWI), and you refuse to take a breath test, you can be penalized.

Under Minnesota’s implied consent law, you could face civil and criminal penalties for refusing to take a chemical DWI test. Currently, the penalties for a first-time refusal include:

  • One-year license revocation
  • Up to $3,000 in fines
  • Maximum of one year in jail

You should also know that refusing to take a breath test could result in a separate gross misdemeanor charge—which is typically more serious than a first-time DWI offense. For this reason, it may not be in your best interest to refuse. With the help of a Minneapolis DWI defense attorney from Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A., you may be able to challenge the outcome of your breath test.

Can I Be Penalized for Refusing to Take a Blood Test?

While the state’s implied consent law previously included breath, blood and urine tests, the Minnesota Court of Appeals recently ruled that a search warrant is required for DWI blood tests. The court stated that “Blood draws are serious intrusions into the human body that implicate a person’s most personal and deep-rooted expectations of privacy”—which goes against our Fourth Amendment rights.

For this reason, police are now required to obtain a warrant before testing a suspected drunk driver’s blood. This means that you cannot be penalized for refusing to consent to a warrantless blood draw. However, the Minnesota Supreme Court did uphold the constitutionality of warrantless breath tests, which means that you can still be penalized for refusing to take a breath test after a DWI arrest.

We Take Calls 24/7 – Call Now for a Free Consultation

If you have been arrested for DWI, it is important to act quickly. Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. is available to take your call 24/7, so don’t wait any longer to get in touch with the Minneapolis DWI lawyers at our firm. Over the years, we have handled hundreds of jury trials! We are also backed by 100+ years of collective legal experience, so you can trust that your future will be in good hands.


Call our office today at (612) 444-5020 to schedule your free DWI consultation!