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Driving While Impaired (DWI/DUI)  

Last Updated: Jun 23, 2016 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.

  • Minn. Stat. 171.173 License suspension; underage drinking offense.

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. 2Refusal 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. § 169A.52.

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


Alchohol Tests: Breath, Urine, Blood

Breath Tests:

Urine Tests:

  • State of Minnesota v. Thompson - Minnesota Court of Appeals held:
    • Charging a driver with violating Minn. Stat. § 169A.20, subd. 2 for refusing to submit to a urine test implicates a fundamental right because a warrantless search of the driver's urine would not have been constitutional under an exception to the warrant requirement; and
    • When applied to the refusal of a warrantless urine test, Minn. Stat. § 169A.20, subd. 2 violates a driver’s right to substantive due process under the United States and Minnesota Constitutions because it is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest.

Blood Tests:

  • State of Minnesota v. TrahanMinnesota Court of Appeals held:
    •  When a warrantless blood test would not have been constitutional under an exeption to the warrant requirement, charging the driver with violating Minn. Stat.§ 169A.20, subd. 2, for refusing to submit to a blood test implicates a fundamental right; and
    • Because Minn. Stat.§ 169A.20. subc. 2, as applied to refusal of a warrantless blood test is not narrowly tailored to serve a compelling government interest, it violates a driver's right to due process under the United States and Minnesota Constitutions.
    • The Minnesota Supreme Court will review this case.

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