• Blood / Urine Tests


    If a law enforcement officer believes that a person is driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she may decide to perform a traffic stop in order to learn more about the person behind the wheel. In learning more, a number of field sobriety tests may be performed. However, some of the results are dependent upon the officer’s interpretation of them and this is something that your St. Paul criminal lawyer can use when building your defense strategy.

    For instance, your attorney can view any audio or video footage of the arrest and of field sobriety tests, and review the paperwork associated with it to see if there was just cause to charge you with DWI. Many times, the very documentation the officer has on-hand is the proof that the arrest was either carried out improperly or there was no cause for the DWI arrest.


    Blood and urine testing is typically performed after the arrest when a person has been taken to the police station. The testing takes place within a couple of hours of the arrest. If blood or urine testing shows a BAC of .08 or above, the results can be difficult to challenge. However, there are strategies that can be used to reduce the charges. For example, the arrest process can be reviewed to see if there were any rights violations. Any violations can be used to your advantage in court and the tests could actually be deemed inadmissible if certain facts are present.


    Breath tests can be challenged, as there has been a lot of controversy regarding the validity of these tests due to faulty machines and results.

    Breath testing involves blowing into a machine that measures the amount of alcohol on the breath to then show a number on a small screen that is an interpretation of how much alcohol is in a person’s body.

    Minnesota has experienced issues with machines used in the past, such as the Intoxilyzer 5000 EN, so the state is beginning to use machines that are believed to be more accurate. Nonetheless, it is a must to have a St. Paul DWI attorney that stays up-to-date with the performance reports for these machines to ensure faulty results do not end in unfair convictions.


    When faced with the decision of whether or not to consent to testing in a DWI case, it is typically best to take the test. The reason is because in most cases, refusing to take the test is more serious than the crime and that is something that a prosecutor is going to be able to easily prove at trial.

    Due to the fact that test refusal is considered a crime, a St. Paul and Minneapolis DWI attorney is not able to advise a client to refuse the test. This would be considered coaching the defendant to commit a crime. What an attorney can do is counsel their client regarding the consequences of refusal and even recommend the driver obtain their own test at their own expense in addition to the one that is performed by law enforcement.

    All in all, the testing decision can be complex and that is why it is best to speak to your attorney first. The general rule is that a driver has 20 minutes to contact an attorney before they agree or refuse to take the test. It is good to have an attorney’s number on-hand in case you are accused.


    Drivers are not able to choose which test they take. The only exception is when it comes to blood or urine testing. Because of the immediate result, most drivers are initially offered the breath test, which is administered at the police station or jail following the DWI arrest. A driver who is offered a breath test must either take the test or they will be charged with test refusal. Minnesota law says that a driver doesn’t have the right to require the police officer to offer a urine or blood test instead of the breath test. If the driver is physically unable to provide the officer with a breath sample due to issues, such as asthma or emphysema, the police must offer the driver the urine or blood test. The physical inability to take a breath test is usually rare.

    When you are offered breath or urine tests, it is preferable to submit to the tests in most cases. However, the urine test tends to show a lower result and it is the type of test that is traditionally and effectively challenged in court. Blood testing is the most accurate of all of the tests when determining blood alcohol concentration. This makes it the most difficult to challenge in court.


    While the consequences are not typically as harsh for a first-time offender who refuses testing, a driver who has had a previous DWI conviction or license revocation within the previous 10 years should never refuse testing. A person who has been previously convicted can trigger vehicle forfeiture and two or more years of license revocation if they refuse testing. Your St. Paul DWI attorney will advise you of this and any other consequences you could potentially face. It is very important to heed the advice of your attorney so you can make the right decisions.

    You will also learn about and be advised on the following: