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Minnesota's implied consent law upheld

Under Minnesota's implied consent law, people being arrested on drunk driving charges can face penalties for refusing to take a chemical test.
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    December 06, 2013 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Minnesota's implied consent law upheld

Last month, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld the implied consent law, meaning that it's a crime for suspected drunk drivers to refuse to take a chemical test when an officer has cause to believe someone has been driving under the influence. Under the law, people being arrested on drunk driving charges can face penalties for refusing to take a blood, breath or urine test to check for alcohol in the bloodstream.

The ruling comes after a case involving a Minnesota man who had submitted to chemical tests during three separate DWI arrests, but argued later that he was coerced into taking the tests, said CBS Minnesota. However, the courts and authorities say that requiring a suspected drunk driver to submit to a test is not coercion, if it means keeping others safe on the road.

Keeping people safe is the main goal with every drunk driving law in Minnesota. Strict DWI laws are necessary, since drunk driving is a problem in the state, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Last year, 104 people were killed and 2,644 were injured in accidents related to drunk driving. It's estimated that one out of every seven licenses Minnesota drivers has one or more DWIs on his or her record, and more than three fourths of DWI arrest last year ended up in a conviction.

Strict penalties for drunk driving

The consequences for drunk driving are meant to deter those who would choose to get behind the wheel after drinking too much. For a first offense, those with a DWI may face 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine, a suspended license for 90 days and a possible ignition interlock requirement. The penalties for subsequent offenses are even steeper. For refusing to submit to a chemical test during a DWI arrest, a person faces additional penalties such as having a driver's license revocation for at least a year, or longer if the driver has had additional violations in the past, according to the Minnesota Legislature.

It can help for a person facing a DWI arrest to understand the rules that may lead to authorities ordering a blood alcohol test:
-Whenever the officer feels there is probable cause for arrest.
-When a driver is involved in an accident that resulted in property damage, personal injury or death.
-When the suspected drunk driver refused to take a preliminary screening test.
-When the test indicated a blood alcohol content over 0.08 percent.

Most people being placed under arrest on suspicion of DWI will be requested to take a chemical test. Submitting to the test will not prevent an arrest if the test results show alcohol in a person's bloodstream; however, if a person refused to take a test and was sober, he or she will still face penalties under the implied consent law.

Getting help from an attorney

Some people predict that the court system can be clogged with cases involving those with DWI charges fighting their arrests. Still, anyone facing DWI charges has the right to be represented in court by an experienced drunk driving defense attorney.

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