Everything a person says or does during a Minnesota traffic stop can have a significant impact on the ultimate outcome of a case, if the individual is taken into police custody. For instance, if a police officer asks a driver to exit a vehicle, then inquires as to whether he or she has been drinking alcohol, the person in question will want to think twice before giving an answer. If DWI is suspected, the officer might also ask the driver to take a preliminary alcohol screening breath test.
If a driver admits consumption of alcohol (even one beer), this information can typically be used in court if DWI charges are later filed. Some people think they are obligated to comply with a request to take a roadside breath test, when, in fact, they are not. It is important to understand the difference between a preliminary screening and a formal, evidentiary test, which is relevant to implied consent laws.
Signing a driver’s license equates to agreeing with implied consent laws
Signing a driver’s license in Minnesota is also consenting to take a breath, blood or urine test, if a police officer arrests a driver for suspected DWI. The key issue to remember here is that such tests typically take place after an arrest has been made. A roadside breath test, on the other hand, is part of a series of preliminary screening tests that are usually administered to determine if there is probable cause to make an arrest. There are no legal penalties for refusing to take a roadside breath test.
Navigating the criminal justice system in a DWI case
A prosecutor may try to use either scenario to try to incriminate someone who is facing DWI charges in a Minnesota court. This is why it is always best to rely on experienced criminal defense support when facing drunk driving charges. Requesting legal support as soon as an arrest has taken place is typically the best course of action.