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Driving While Impaired (DWI/DUI)  

Last Updated: Feb 12, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Minn. Stat. 169A.20 Driving While Impaired:  

If your alcohol-concentration level is 0.08 or higher (0.04 in a commercial vehicle) and you are in control of a moving or parked vehicle, you can be arrested for DWI and will be subject to administrative license sanctions.  If a law enforcement officer can prove that alcohol or drugs caused you to commit driving errors, you can also be convicted of DWI at lower alcohol concentrations.

Additional statutes, regulations & opinions may apply to your specific situation.

Source:  Office of the Revisor of Statutes


Impaired Driving Laws

Source:  MN Office of Traffic Safety


Implied Consent Law

Minn. Stat. 1692A.20 Subd. 2. Refusal to submit to chemical test crime.

It is a crime for any person to refuse to submit to a chemical test of the person's blood, breath, or urine under section 169A.51 (chemical tests for intoxication), or 169A.52 (test refusal or failure; revocation of license).

Source:  Office of the Revisor of Statutes


Refusal to Take the Test

In Minnesota, the penalty for refusing to take a test is the suspension of your license for at least one year. The length of the suspension depends on whether you have had any prior convictions for DWI. If you have had no prior DWI convictions, then the suspension is for one year. If you have had prior DWI convictions, then add a year on to your suspension for every one of your convictions. For example, if this is your first refusal (one year) but you’ve had two prior DWIs (two years), then the length of your suspension will be three years.

Generally, the state can’t force you to take a test once you refuse to do so. There are some exceptions, however. If you were in an accident where someone was seriously injured or killed, then you do not have a right to refuse. Also, if you are unconscious or killed, then the law allows for a test to be taken without asking you first. 

To read more about the penalties for refusing a test, see the Minn. Stat. 169.52.

This information can be found on part of the NOLO Network.

Alcohol Breath Test - Constitutional Search

State of Minnesota v. Bernard - Minnesota Supreme Court held:

  • A warrantless breath test would have been constitutional under the search-incident-to-arrest exception to the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement; and
  • Minn. Stat. § 169A.20, subd. 2 does not violate due process under the United States of Minnesota Constitutions. 

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As librarians and not lawyers, we can suggest resources but cannot give legal advice (such as which form to file), or legal opinions, (such as how a statute might apply to particular facts).  To do so could be considered the unauthorized practice of law.  Even though we try to suggest materials that will be of help, further research is usually required to find a complete and correct answer.  For many questions, the best answer may be to consult an attorney.


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