The Attention, Defense, and Respect You Deserve!

Blood Alcohol Tests in Minnesota

Under Minnesota law, one basis for getting a DWI is to drive a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration over 0.08.  How do police officers determine a person’s blood alcohol level?  There are three types of testing currently used in Minnesota:

Breath Test

The breath test requires a person to blow a few samples into a machine that analyzes the air sample and computes a blood alcohol level.  The breath testing machines, namely the Intoxilyzer 5000, have been under scrutiny recently due to defects in the source code, or programming, of the machine.  Many Minnesota cities, including Minneapolis and St. Paul, are implementing new machines that are supposed to correct the flaws of the older model.  However, breath tests inherently suffer from reliability issues, including detection of alcohol not present in blood stream (e.g., breath mints, mouthwash, etc.) and reporting false refusals or insufficient air samples.

Urine Test

Urine testing involves providing a sample that is analyzed for its alcohol concentration.  However, urine testing carries its own set of issues.  There has been criticism of first-void tests because alcohol can build up and stay in the bladder.  So, someone who was intoxicated hours ago may still receive a high urine test BAC because the alcohol remained in the bladder until the test was conducted.  Second-void urine testing has been determined to be more accurate.

Blood Test

Blood testing is the most accurate method of determining BAC.  A blood sample is taken and analyzed to determine its content.  If conducted properly, this test provides the most accurate determination of a person’s current blood alcohol concentration.  However, the needle and drawing of blood is significantly more intrusive than breath or urine tests.

If you face a DWI, contact an experienced drunk driving defense attorney to learn about your options.  Eric Rice has obtained great results in DWI cases and offers a free consultation to discuss your case.  He can be contacted at (651) 998-9660 or