Should I refuse to submit to testing if I have a prior DWI within the past 10 years?

Prior to August 1, 2003, a first time refusal to submit to testing was only a misdemeanor. If, however, you submitted to testing and the result was .20% or more alcohol concentration level, the penalty was a gross misdemeanor.

If you had a prior offense within the past ten years, a refusal to submit to testing would not result in the forfeiture of your vehicle, but a .20% test result (with a prior offense) would result in the permanent loss of your vehicle. So prior to August 1, 2003, individuals under arrest had an incentive to refuse to submit to testing, particularly if they suspected their alcohol concentration level was .20% or more.

On August 1, 2003, the Minnesota Legislature made it a gross misdemeanor to refuse to submit to testing. Under current law even a first time refusal now carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a $3,000.00 fine or both. In addition, the Legislature has also reduced the gross misdemeanor alcohol concentration level from .20% to .16%. If you submit to testing and the result is less than a .16% alcohol concentration level, the maximum sentence for a first time offense is only a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of 90 days and a $1,000.00 fine or both.

If you have a prior offense within the past 10 years and you now refuse to submit to testing, the State under the current law will seek a forfeiture of your vehicle. If on the other hand, you have one prior offense and submit to testing, the test result must be .16% or more alcohol concentration level before the State is authorized to seek a forfeiture of your vehicle. Since most people test under a .16%, and forfeiture is automatic with a prior offense and a refusal, there is no reason to ever refuse to submit to testing as of August 1, 2003 if you have a prior DWI offense within the past ten years.

For answers to all of your Minnesota DWI and DUI questions, please call Minneapolis DWI Lawyer F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 today.