Swedzinski v. Commissioner of Public Safety

Decision Date07 May 1985
Docket NumberNo. C1-84-2011,C1-84-2011
Citation367 N.W.2d 119
PartiesDavid William SWEDZINSKI, petitioner, Respondent, v. COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC SAFETY, Appellant.
CourtMinnesota Court of Appeals

Syllabus by the Court

A driver's general suspicion about the reliability of the intoxilyzer does not, by itself, constitute reasonable grounds for refusing testing.

Harry P. Schoen, Hastings, for respondent.

Hubert H. Humphrey, III, Atty. Gen., Joel A. Watne, Linda F. Close, Sp. Asst. Atty. Gen., St. Paul, for appellant.

Heard, considered and decided by POPOVICH, C.J., and SEDGWICK and RANDALL, JJ.



The Commissioner of Public Safety appeals from an order of the trial court rescinding the revocation of David Swedzinski's driving privileges. The trial court determined Swedzinski had reasonable grounds for refusing to submit to testing. We reverse.


David Swedzinski was arrested for D.W.I. and agreed to take a breath test. He was taken to the Dakota County Sheriff's Office. On the first attempt at administering the test, at 1:28 a.m., the intoxilyzer machine kicked out the test record because of radio frequency interference. Swedzinski was aware of the faulty test. No adjustments were made to the machine after the machine invalidated the initial test. A second test record was inserted at 1:30 a.m. and this time no problems were encountered.

An "air blank" test gave a reading of room air at the desired .000. Instead of blowing into the machine, Swedzinski left the room and said he wouldn't take the test. He indicated he did not trust the machine to be accurate. He was brought back and refused to blow into the machine within the required four minutes.

Swedzinski was given another chance and was again instructed on how to provide a sample. He placed the mouth piece in his mouth for about two seconds. He testified that he did try to blow into the machine but the attending officer testified that it did not appear that he made an attempt to blow before taking out the mouth piece. The intoxilyzer operator testified that the machine appeared to be working properly.

After his license was revoked for refusing to submit to testing, Swedzinski's counsel argued at the implied consent hearing that Swedzinski was not allowed to take the test. Counsel argued that Swedzinski made a good faith attempt to blow into the machine and that the officer was wrong in testifying that he had not. The trial court rescinded the revocation, not on the grounds that Swedzinski had been refused a good faith attempt to take the test, but on the grounds that Swedzinski reasonably refused testing.


May a driver reasonably refuse testing because of suspicions about the reliability of the testing machine?


The trial court found that Swedzinski's "suspicions" about the intoxilyzer machine (following the initial rejected test) justified his refusal to provide the requested breath sample. A driver who distrusts the intoxilyzer machine may not reasonably refuse to submit to testing. City...

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4 cases
  • Wilson v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety
    • United States
    • Minnesota Court of Appeals
    • June 11, 2012
    ...that mere "suspicions" about the reliability of the testing device are not sufficient to refuse a test, Swedzinski v. Comm'r of Pub. Safety, 367 N.W.2d 119, 120 (Minn. App. 1985), appellant contends that there may still be occasions when a suspect's distrust of a testing device may be adequ......
  • Exsted v. Commissioner of Public Safety, C7-85-869
    • United States
    • Minnesota Court of Appeals
    • November 5, 1985
    ...A driver's mere "suspicions" about an Intoxilyzer do not justify his refusal to take the test. Swedzinski v. Commissioner of Public Safety, 367 N.W.2d 119 (Minn.Ct.App.1985). However, the driver here did not refuse to take the test based on his "suspicions" about the test. He refused to tak......
  • Appeal of Ball
    • United States
    • Kansas Court of Appeals
    • March 27, 1986
    ...is not reasonable if based only on his belief that the test was unreliable. In a factually analogous case, Swedzinski v. Com'r of Public Safety, 367 N.W.2d 119 (Minn.App.1985), Swedzinski was arrested for driving under the influence and was asked to submit to a breath test. On the first att......
  • State v. Zimmerman
    • United States
    • Minnesota Court of Appeals
    • November 7, 2000
    ...without more. This reason fails as a matter of law to justify an instruction on reasonable refusal. In Swedzinski v. Commissioner of Pub. Safety, 367 N.W.2d 119 (Minn. App. 1985), this court ruled that HN4a defendant's refusal to take a breath test because the defendant did not trust the ac......

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