D.R.H. v. Comm'r of Public Safety
The State revoked our client’s driver’s license for two years for “refusing to submit to a breath test.” Usually this occurs when the machine deems the breath sample “deficient” - or, the driver refused to blow long and hard enough into the machine. This case was different.
This wasn’t a case of insufficient quantity; but of insufficient quality, over which a driver has no control.
Our client provided plenty of air, but the machine found the breath did not meet the acceptance criteria. Without this scientific safeguard there is no assurance the instrument was measuring alcohol from the lungs and not from the stomach (which has a much higher concentration of alcohol). Although the breath test operator (police officer) deemed our client to have refused, it is the machine - not the officer - that makes that determination. As a result the state agreed to rescind the license revocation completely, and the revocation was thrown out.
Minnesota Attorneys Practice Pointer: Make sure you read and understand the BCA DataMaster Breath Test Operator Manual. An “invalid” test does not constitute a test refusal.