How is Blood Alcohol Concentration Measured?

bacBlood Alcohol Concentration refers to the amount of alcohol that is present in the blood. It is the measurement of alcohol weight per unit of a particular volume of blood.

In the state of Minnesota, the maximum permissible blood alcohol concentration of a driver is .08, or 8 g of alcohol per 100 mL of blood.

It is not necessary to administer a blood test to determine Blood Alcohol Concentration.  A breath or urine test will suffice.  However, breath tests and urine tests are less accurate than blood tests.

If a law enforcement officer decides to administer a blood alcohol test, a sample of blood is retrieved from a vein using a needle.  The sample is tested in the lab for alcohol content. It often takes more than a month to receive the results.

You are permitted to keep your driver’s license until a reading above .08 is received from the lab.

There are many sources online that help people determine the Blood Alcohol Concentration level after they have had a few alcoholic beverages.  However, these sources may not be entirely accurate, and there are different factors that can impact the way alcohol is absorbed in the body.

The most important factor is individual physiology. Alcohol can affect different people in different ways, even if all other variables are identical.

The kind of food that you have had, the amount of time that has passed since you consumed alcohol, and other factors will impact your Blood Alcohol Concentration level.

The bottom line: it is never a good idea to consume any alcohol prior to driving. We routinely speak with potential clients who have been charged with a DWI without feeling the least bit intoxicated, after just a few drinks.

Do you have questions about the measurement of Blood Alcohol Concentration? Our defense attorneys have represented clients from all over the State of Minnesota who have been charged with drunk driving, or other related offenses. Call (763) 323-6555 to speak with a lawyer for free.

What Happens If I Refuse to Submit to Blood Alcohol Testing in Minnesota?

refuThe state of Minnesota has implied consent alcohol testing laws.  This means that police officers are allowed to assume that every motorist has consented to a test of breath, blood or urine for the purpose of detection of the presence of alcohol.

As a motorist in Minnesota, you have the right to refuse to submit to a blood-alcohol test, but there are severe consequences for doing so.

When a police officer in Minnesota pulls a motorist over because they suspect driving under the influence of alcohol, the officer will request the motorist to submit to a test.

There are a number of reasons an officer may require a test.  For instance, they may have observed the motorist driving erratically, or, when the motorist pulls over, the officer may find visible signs of intoxication – like a smell of alcohol, slurred speech or bloodshot eyes.

If there is probable cause, then the officer will likely require a chemical test to confirm intoxication.

If you refuse a blood-alcohol test, then you may have your license revoked for a period of one year.  If this is not your first arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, the consequences could be even more severe.

Simply put, alcohol test refusal, or refusal to submit to a chemical test to detect the presence of alcohol in your system, is a crime, and is punishable under Minnesota law.

However, you have the right to consult a lawyer before you decide to submit to the test, and it is highly recommended that you do so.

Have you been charged with alcohol test refusal? There are many defenses available to you. To speak with our attorneys, free of charge, call (763) 323-6555.

Details Surrounding Minnesota’s Ignition Interlock for DWI Offenders

inteFor almost two years, a certain class of Minnesota drunk drivers has been able to take advantage of the interlock program in lieu of a driver’s license revocation.

The ignition interlock legislation arose in 2011, following a pilot program that began in 2009. The interlock device is about the size of a cell phone. When connected to the ignition system, blood alcohol content may be measured before starting a vehicle. Random resets are also required as the vehicle is operated, to ensure the driver does not consume alcohol once they begin travelling.

If the driver of the vehicle blows a blood alcohol content in excess of .02, the device will stop the vehicle.

Normally, drivers with a number of repeat offenses, or a rather high blood alcohol concentration, will lose their driving privileges for a prolonged period of time. However, if a driver elects to participate in the interlock program, they regain driving privileges immediately. First-time DWI offenders qualify with a blood alcohol concentration of .16 or more, along with repeat offenders.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety indicates that the interlock equipment costs approximately $100.00 to install, with a monthly service fee between $60.00 and $125.00. Those who qualify for the program must participate for three to six years in order to qualify for full license reinstatement.

Click to read the full interlock program guidelines from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.

Pre-Arrest Questioning & The Miranda Warning

polIn the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, a good deal of attention has been focused on the Miranda warning. As you may recall, the surviving suspect was questioned by law enforcement, in the hospital, short of being read his rights.

The Miranda warning involves that seemingly timeless television and movie script reading, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you?”

The warning is very real, and designed to inform you of your rights while being questioned by law enforcement after you have been taken into custody. This often occurs in the back of a squad car, or at the police station.

The police are free to question you without a Miranda warning if they have not arrested you. For example, if you are stopped by police, they have the right to ask you any questions, short of a Miranda warning, while you are sitting in your car. You don’t have to answer, but no constitutional violation exists if no Miranda is offered.

Law enforcement can ask you questions short of the Miranda warning even if you have been taken into custody. However, any statement you make during questioning may not be used against you in the future. In other words, the prosecutor can still charge you with a crime, but they can’t use your own admissions against you.

Have you been charged with a crime in Minnesota? We can help you. Call (763) 323-6555 to speak with a criminal defense attorney free of charge. We’ve earned a reputation for success in the courtroom, and work tirelessly in fighting for our clients.

Minnesota State Patrol Stepping Up DWI Enforcment

Minnesota Public Radio reports that in anticipation of the 2012 holiday season, the Minnesota State Patrol will beef up its DWI enforcment. Thirteen counties will be targeted, including Hennepin, Anoka, Ramsey, Wright, Sherburne, Dakota, Washington and St. Louis County.

Over the last three years, more than 92,000 arrests were made for driving under the influence across Minnesota. About one-half of these offenses occured in the counties referenced above. A federal grant will faciliate increased DWI enforcment throughout 2013.

Obviously, the best way to prevent a DUI involves the assignment of a designated driver, or calling a cab to bring you home if you’ve had too much to drink. If you’ve been charged with drunk driving, whether in the Twin Cities, or greater Minnesota, you can speak with one of our DWI defense attorneys free of charge. Call (763) 323-6555 and one of our lawyers will answer all of your questions and help you understand your rights.