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Facing DUI charges following a breath test?

Aug 29, 2023 | DWI

There are several circumstances in which a Minnesota police officer might ask you to submit to a test that detects alcohol on your breath or determines the blood alcohol content (BAC) level in your bloodstream. Such requests often occur during a traffic stop or after a police officer has taken someone into custody for suspected drunk driving. There are things you should know about a breath test in relation to DUI charges.

Many people think a roadside breath test and a chemical Breathalyzer test are the same. They are not. On the roadside, during a traffic stop, a patrol officer might ask you to take a breath test. This constitutes a “preliminary alcohol screening.” The device can detect alcohol on your breath but not your BAC. In fact, there are products that can cause your breath to register a false positive for alcohol. The most important thing to remember about a roadside breath test is that you’re not obligated to take one.

Implied consent laws in Minnesota are relevant in a DUI case

Many often refer to a chemical breath test as a “Breathalyzer,” which is the brand name of a specific testing device. If you have a license to operate a motor vehicle in this state, then you agreed to implied consent laws when you signed your license. These laws state that you must comply to a request to take a chemical blood, breath or urine test if you’ve been under arrest for suspected DUI.

If you refuse, the state can (and will) suspend your driver’s license. This doesn’t mean that you can’t refuse to take a Breathalyzer test, only that if you do refuse, there are administrative penalties involved. Remember that a chemical test can determine your BAC. If it registers .08 or higher, the law prohibits you from driving. A BAC of .08 or higher while driving a car constitutes a DUI.

There are stringent regulations regarding the administering of a breath test

If you’re facing DWI charges in Minnesota after failing a breath test, you’ll want to possess full knowledge of the rules regarding the administration of such tests. For example, only someone certified to administer a Breathalyzer can do so. There are also rules about the timing of such tests, as well as how often the devices need calibration. You would be able to challenge the evidence or request a case dismissal if you possessed evidence to show that there were violations in the process of administering a breath test.