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Can you refuse a field sobriety test at a DWI stop in Minnesota?

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2023 | DWI Defense

Field sobriety tests are crucial in determining an individual’s impairment level. However, drivers often wonder whether they have the right to refuse a field sobriety test during a DWI stop.

Keep it here to explore the legal implications and consequences of refusing a field sobriety test. Understanding your rights and the potential outcomes can help you make informed decisions if you find yourself in such a situation.

Understanding field sobriety tests

Field sobriety tests are standardized procedures conducted by law enforcement officers to assess a driver’s physical and cognitive abilities, providing them with probable cause for a DWI arrest.

The most commonly used field sobriety test is the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN), which tracks involuntary eye movements as the person follows a stimulus horizontally. Alcohol and certain drugs can cause nystagmus, an involuntary jerking of the eyes, which may indicate impairment.

While these tests aim to provide evidence of impairment, they are not foolproof and can be influenced by various factors, including nervousness, fatigue, medical conditions and environmental conditions.

Implied consent law

Under the implied consent law, law enforcement officers can request a driver to take a breath or blood test to establish their blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Refusing to submit to chemical testing can lead to administrative penalties, including driver’s license revocation.

In Minnesota, you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test. These tests are voluntary, and drivers cannot be penalized for declining to participate. However, it’s crucial to understand that refusing a field sobriety test does not exempt you from potential arrest if the officer believes you are driving under the influence.

Drivers may decline a field sobriety test without penalty. However, refusing a field sobriety test does not guarantee immunity from arrest and can lead to additional suspicions and potential legal ramifications.

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