What to Do If You Are Stopped for DUI by Police in Minnetonka, MN?

Drunk-driving is one of the leading causes of car crashes resulting in serious injuries, permanent disabilities, and even deaths. Alcohol and other prohibited substances often impair thinking, reasoning, and muscle coordination, increasing the chances of an accident.

Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes, meaning one person every 50 minutes dies due to drunk-driving. That’s why, like most other states, Driving Under the Influence(DUI), also known as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), is considered a serious crime in Minnesota. However, there are also several provisions in the law that protect your rights as a citizen when pulled over for suspected drunk-driving.

Let’s see how the law works and what you can do when pulled over for suspected DWI.

A. Understanding the Minnesota DWI Law

According to the law, Minnesota has the legal BAC at 0.08%. If your BAC level is more than this limit while driving, you will be arrested on a DWI charge. If your BAC level is more than 0.16%, you will be arrested on an aggravated DWI charge. Minnesota also has a zero-tolerance law for underage drinking. So, any driver under the age of 21 with any level of BAC could face DWI charges.

B. What You Should Do When Pulled Over for Suspected DWI

Should you get pulled over for suspected drunk-driving, you need to keep the following things in mind.

1. Always Be Polite

Any experienced criminal defense lawyer in Minnetonka, MN, would advise you to be polite and cooperating whenever police are involved, not just in case of a suspected DWI. Whenever police officers stop any suspect, their first and foremost concern is their own safety.

That’s why you should refrain from any sudden movements or aggressive behavior. Also, police vehicles are equipped with cameras and microphones that record everything. If you misbehave, the police will have a record, which will be used as evidence to strengthen the case against you.

So, whenever the authorities pull you over, follow the instructions given by the police officer. You can take out your license and insurance card when asked to. Don’t make any remarks or comments that are likely to offend the officers.

3. Don’t Take the Field Sobriety Tests

Although you should cooperate with the police, you don’t have to take the Field Sobriety Tests or FSTs. The law doesn’t require you to take the field sobriety tests. You can politely decline to take the tests. Whether you decline or accept the FSTs, you would still be arrested. However, declining these tests will limit the evidence that can be used against you.

Minnesota also has the implied consent law like most other states. As per this law, when you drive a vehicle in Minnesota, you automatically consent to a chemical test of your breathe, blood, and urine for checking the presence of alcohol or any other controlled substance.

You don’t have to take the breathalyzer test at the side of the road though. You can take it later at the police station. You can also refuse to take any of these chemical tests. However, you will then be charged for breaking the implied consent law in addition to the appropriate DWI charges.

You can, of course, call an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Minnetonka, MN, for legal advice. It’s best to take the chemical test though if you can’t reach your attorney in time.

3. Don’t Talk Too Much

Another cardinal rule is to not talk too much or out of turn. The officer will ask you a few questions like your name and ask you to produce an insurance card and license. While you should do this, you don’t have to answer incriminating questions like:

  • Where are you going?
  • How much did you drink?
  • Have you been drinking?
  • Where are you coming from?

You can politely tell the officer that you would like to answer these questions in the presence of your experienced criminal defense lawyer in Minnetonka, MN. Although you would be arrested, keeping the conversation to a minimum will limit the amount of evidence the authorities can gather.

4. Call an Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Minnetonka, MN

If your BAC levels are less than 0.08%, you will probably be free to go home without any charges. If not, however, the officer will place you into custody. You will have the right to an attorney. So, you should call an experienced criminal defense lawyer in Minnetonka, MN, as soon as possible.

You should avoid talking to the police officers without your attorney present. The criminal defense lawyer cost is usually worth the services they offer. An excellent attorney, although a little expensive, can help minimize the penalties or even manage to throw out your case completely. It can help protect your reputation and maintain clean driving record, which is essential in maintaining your lifestyle.

Conclusion

Although a DUI or DWI charge may seem simple, doing the wrong things when you are pulled over for suspected drunk-driving can quickly aggravate the situation. Hopefully, these four tips will help you avoid any friction with the law enforcement officers. Remember though, the Minnesota DWI law is complicated, making it necessary to get legal help as soon as possible.

Talk to The Experienced Criminal Defense Lawyer in Minnetonka, MN

Whether you were arrested for a DWI for the first time or second time, it is always better to call a criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. If you or your loved one is facing DWI charges in Minnesota, there is no need to look beyond Carlson & Jones, P.A. You can reach us at (855) 976-2444  for a free consultation or contact us via our website to schedule an appointment.

Lawyers in Brainerd, MN and the Five Leading Causes of Accidental Death

Too many times, first responders are unable to save accident victims. Often, these individuals expire before responders even reach the scene.

Minnesota has one of the broadest wrongful death laws in the country which allows survivors to obtain substantial compensation. But no amount of money in the world can fully compensate for a loss like a wrongful death. Nevertheless, the compensation which lawyers in Brainerd, MN can obtain helps survivors move on with their lives. And that’s what the deceased person would have wanted.

Car Crashes

Even though today’s cars and trucks are much safer than the ones on the road in the 20th century, car wrecks still kill about 40,000 Americans a year. And, Minnesota has one of the highest death rates in the country. These incidents often cause internal injuries, like brain and spine injuries, which are extremely serious and difficult to treat.

Driver impairment, such as prescription drug use and excessive fatigue, cause most fatal car crashes. Operational error, such as speeding and distracted driving, cause most of the rest. Defective products, such as unsafe airbags, cause a handful of wrecks. These different causes illustrate the different theories of recovery in these cases.

  • Ordinary Negligence: Minnesota law imposes a duty of reasonable care on most citizens. For motorists, that duty involves things like driving defensively. If tortfeasors (negligent driver) violate the standard of care and that violation causes injury, they may be liable for damages.
  • Negligence Per Se: Many times, the law establishes the standard of care. Speed limits are a good example. If the tortfeasor violates a safety law, the tortfeasor may be liable for damages as a matter of law, no matter how careful s/he was.
  • Strict Liability: Manufacturers are strictly liable for any injuries their defective products cause. Once again, it does not matter how careful the company was. Manufacturers are strictly liable for both design defects and manufacturing defects.

Damages in a wrongful death claim usually include compensation for economic losses, such as the decedent’s final medical expenses, and noneconomic losses, such as the survivors’ grief and suffering. Lawyers in Brainerd, MN may be able to obtain punitive damages as well, in some extreme cases.

Poisonings

These incidents almost always involve drug overdose. That overdose could be a legal or illegal drug, and a prescription painkiller is almost always the common denominator.

Unintentional overdoses are extremely complex matters, even for the most experienced lawyers in Brainerd, MN, because there are many different causes. The responsible party could be the person who consumed too much medicine, the doctor who wrote a prescription without asking questions, the pill manufacturer who made the dangerous product, or the transportation company which shipped the drug and did not fulfill all its obligations under the Controlled Substances Act.

Lawyers in Brainerd, MN and Falls

These injuries plague Minnesota’s elderly population at a disproportionate rate. Falls are one of the leading causes of accidental death for folks over 65, and they are the leading cause of accidental death for folks over 85. Older people often suffer from vision problems, so they are less able to see hazards on the ground. Additionally, many older people suffer from gait disorders. When they stumble, they often fall hard.

Procedurally, falls and other premises liability claims, like swimming pool drownings, work a bit differently. To obtain compensation, lawyers in Brainerd, MN must establish:

  • Legal Duty: The degree of responsibility varies based on the relationship between the victim and owner. For example, if the victim was an invitee (a person who had permission to be on the property and whose presence benefitted the owner in some way), the owner has a duty of reasonable care, like the one for motorists.
  • Knowledge of Hazard: The owner must have actual or constructive knowledge (should have known). Emails, repair estimates, and other direct evidence of actual knowledge usually surfaces during a lawsuit’s discovery process. Circumstantial evidence of constructive knowledge usually involves the time-notice rule. If a hazard existing for a long time, the owner should have discovered it.

These same principles also apply to assaults, as outlined below.

Swimming Pool Drownings

The same duty/knowledge approach sometimes applies in these situations. Additionally, the aforementioned negligence per se rule may apply as well. Swimming pool owners must comply with pool safety laws. These laws vary in different localities. They usually include things like self-latching gates and unclimbable fences which completely surround the water. Owners who violate such laws may be liable for damages as a matter of law.

There are other kinds of swimming pool injuries in addition to drownings. Excessive pool cleaning chemicals, like chlorine, may cause chemical burns. Too few chemicals may cause bacterial infections. These injuries often beset individuals with pre-existing conditions. Under Minnesota law, these victims are usually entitled to full compensation for their injuries.

Assaults

Wet spots on floors and other such hazards often cause falls. Inadequate security, nonfunctional cameras, burned-out lights, and other such items often cause assaults.

The property owner is legally responsible if a lawyer in Brainerd, MN establishes duty and knowledge. Additionally, an attorney must also establish foreseeability. Evidence of foreseeability includes prior, similar incidents either at that property or at a nearby location.

Connect with a Fearless Attorney

At Carlson & Jones, P.A., our lawyers in Brainerd, MN do not back down from the big insurance companies. Call us today for a free consultation, and we’ll work to get the compensation and justice you deserve.

The Three Types of Restraining Orders in Minnesota

Every day, domestic violence shelters nationwide field about 20,000 phone calls from frantic victims. This figure does not include the substantial number of 9-1-1 domestic violence calls, as well as the high number of unreported incidents.

Many of these alleged victims seek judicial protection. A restraining order is much more than just a piece of paper. It gets the full authority of the law on the victim’s side, gives other people notice of the danger, and creates legal obligations for alleged abusers. These individuals usually need their own Hutchinson, MN lawyers to protect their interests.

At Carlson & Jones, we protect domestic violence victims. At the same time, we realize that there are usually two sides to the story. The most effective protective orders take all the facts into account and provide appropriate protections for both alleged victims and alleged abusers.

Orders for Protection

McLeod County courts may intervene in a domestic fight if the applicant qualifies for a protective order from both a relational and physical standpoint.

Typically, the applicant is or was related to the defendant by blood or marriage. So, establishing a relationship is usually not a problem. But sometimes, the domestic ties are not so black and white. For example, a girlfriend may seek protection from her boyfriend. UNder Minnesota law, such protection may be available. However, the nature of the relationship may be an issue. One or two dates probably does not make two people “dating partners” as defined in the Domestic Abuse Act.

Moreover, only physical abuse victims qualify for these protective orders. Once again, in the vast majority of cases, there has been a physical assault. Any harmful or offensive touch qualifies. Physical injury just makes the incident easier to prove in court. The iminent threat of physical violence qualifies as well. But there is a difference between an iminent threat and and idle threat. There’s also a difference between a threat of violence and a fear of violence.

Based solely on the application a McLeod County judge may grant an ex parte order for protection. Then, after the alleged abuser receives notice of the proceeding and has an opportunity to hire a Hutchinson, MN lawyer, the judge may extend the order for up to two years.

This permanent protective order is usually more than preventative. Judges routinely order protective order defendants to do things like pay financial support, surrender their firearms, and vacate a joint residence.

Harassment Restraining Orders

Many times, domestic violence is a slow burn as opposed to a one-time flare-up. In these situations, a harassment restraining order may be available. HROs are designed for situations which may not be physically threatening, but are nevertheless very unsettling for both alleged victims and their families. Such conduct includes:

  • Showing up at work,
  • Following the alleged victim or a family member,
  • Placing repeated phone calls, especially at odd hours, and
  • “Checking up” on the alleged victim.

Technically, two incidents are all it takes to establish a pattern. But pragmatically, the more incidents that a Hutchinson, MN lawyer presents to the court, the more likely a judge is to issue an HRO. Diary or journal entries are good; prior 9-1-1 calls or witnesses are even better.

The incidents above are not enough. They must trigger a reasonable fear in the alleged victim. Lack of objective fear is the easiest way for a Hutchinson, MN lawyer to defend alleged abusers against HROs.

Procedurally, harassment orders are much the same as protective orders. The judge may issue an ex parte order based solely on the victim’s testimony. But a judge is unlikely to do so if there are only a few isolated stalking episodes. At a full hearing, the order can include not only anti-stalking provisions, but also language which prohibits the alleged abuser from interfering with utility service or school enrollment.

Out-of-State Protective Orders

The Minneapolis area is basically a regional transportation hub. Lots of people move to Minnesota from other places in the Midwest and other places around the country. If they relocate to escape domestic abuse, their protective orders may be able to relocate with them.

Permanent (non-ex parte) protective orders are almost always transferrable across state lines, as long as a court of competent jurisdiction entered orders that concern domestic violence issues under Minnesota law. The rules differ slightly for MPOs (Military Protective Orders).

Child custody provisions usually remain in place as well, as long as they comply with measures like the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction Act (UCCJA) and the ominously-named Parental Kidnapping Prevention Act. So, if a judge gave you custody of your children, you can generally keep them. To change that provision, the alleged abuser would have to petition the issuing judge. McLeod County judges have no power to modify an out-of-state domestic violence order.

It’s also a good idea to enroll your out-of-state order with the National Crime Information Center Registry. The NCIC forwards the order to all state law enforcement agencies.

Work with Experienced Attorneys

Both alleged victims and alleged abusers have legal options in domestic violence situations. For a free consultation with an experienced Hutchinson, MN lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We routinely handle matters in McLeod County and nearby jurisdictions.

3rd Party Liability Claims Buffalo Car Accident Attorneys Use Frequently

Minnesota has the highest proportion of serious multi-vehicle car accidents in the country. At the same time, the Gopher State also has one of the lowest auto insurance minimum requirements in the country. So, if the collision involves catastrophic injuries, there is a good chance the tortfeasor (negligent driver) may not have enough insurance coverage to make good on all losses.

That’s especially true regarding pedestrian accidents, motorcycle crashes, and large vehicle collisions. These wrecks often involve wrongful death claims.

In some cases, the tortfeasor has additional umbrella insurance coverage. But in most cases, a car accident attorney in Buffalo, MN looks for a vicarious liability theory. Fortunately, Minnesota laws are very broad in this area. So, there is usually an alternative source of compensation available. That source is usually a well-established company with deep pockets.

Some Employer Liability Theories in Minnesota

Events like truck wrecks, bus wrecks, Uber wrecks, and taxi wrecks often involve the respondeat superior rule. Under this legal doctrine, employers are legally responsible for the negligent acts of their employees. This rule makes sense. Employers are usually in the best position to prevent wrecks from happening. If they fail to do so, more accidents will probably follow the case at bar. So, a car accident attorney in Buffalo, MN needs to step in.

The respondeat superior rule has two basic prongs, and both of them are defined in broad, victim-friendly terms:

  • Employee: We normally think of employees as they are defined in tax law. In that realm, an employee is someone who receives a regular paycheck and has that legal designation. But negligence law is different. In this context, any person the employer controls is an employee. That control could be dictating the driver’s work schedule or beginning and ending points.
  • Scope of Employment: Once upon a time, only regular workers performing their regular duties acted within the scope of employment. If a delivery driver made a side trip to the store and caused a wreck, respondeat superior usually did not apply. But today, the scope of employment prong is much broader. Any act that benefits the employer in any way is within the scope of employment. That could include driving a vehicle which bears the company logo.

Additionally, the crash must be foreseeable. If a worker breaks into the parking lot after hours, steal a car, and causes a crash, these events are not foreseeable.

In the unlikely event that respondeat superior does not apply, there are other employer liability theories. These doctrines include negligent hiring and negligent supervision. These theories also apply in intentional tort cases, such as assault and theft.

Car Accident Attorneys in Buffalo, MN and Dram Shop Liability

Many people are extremely concerned about the number of drunk driving crashes. The law enforcement crackdown on DUIs has lasted more than twenty years now. Yet alcohol still causes almost a third of the fatal crashes in Wright County. The solution may lie in taking a step back and looking at the big picture.

Instead of exclusively focusing on individual “drunk drivers,” Minnesota law rightly looks at the source of these crashes. Minnesota has one of the broadest dram shop laws in the country. Commercial alcohol providers are liable for damages if they illegally sell alcohol, and the customer later causes a car crash. Illegal sales include:

  • After-hours transactions,
  • Minors, and
  • Obviously intoxicated persons.

In the first two areas, victim/plaintiffs typically use direct evidence. After all, a person is either older or younger than 21. As for obviously intoxicated persons, victim/plaintiffs may use circumstantial evidence. Such evidence includes slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and unsteady balance.

In some cases, Minnesota’s dram shop law might also apply to party hosts who illegally provide alcohol to their guests. In other cases, an alternative theory, like negligent undertaking, may be available.

Owner Liability in Buffalo

The idea behind this theory is a little like respondeat superior. By doing something like withholding the keys, a vehicle owner is in the best position to prevent a car crash. Negligent entrustment applies if the owner knowingly allows an incompetent driver to borrow a motor vehicle. Evidence of incompetence includes:

  • A poor driving record, such as multiple at-fault accidents or a prior safety suspension,
  • Invalid or no drivers’ license,
  • Allowing an intoxicated, fatigued, or other impaired person to drive the vehicle, and
  • Driving in violation of license restrictions (e.g. with glasses or only during the day).

Because of the Graves Amendment, commercial negligent entrustment cases work a bit differently. Vehicle rental companies are immune from negligent entrustment actions if they are in the vehicle rental business and the owner or agent was not otherwise negligent.

Minnesota is a modified joint and several liability state. So, if there are multiple responsible parties, the judge usually apportions damages among them base don their percentage of fault. These damages usually include compensation for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Work With a Tough Lawyer

The tortfeasor may not be the only responsible party in a negligence case. For a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney in Buffalo, MN, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.

How Do Buffalo MN Car Accident Attorneys Resolve Claims?

Nationwide, most car crash fatalities occur in single-vehicle collisions. But the opposite is true in Minnesota. The Gopher State has the highest proportion of multi-vehicle collision deaths in the country. Not all these cases involve negligence or negligence per se. But, the vast majority do involve either a lack of ordinary care or a statutory violation.

If you were injured because of someone else’s negligence, an experienced attorney is invaluable. Only Buffalo, MN car accident attorneys can accurately evaluate your case and determine if you have a claim for damages. As the case moves forward, the insurance company has a posse of lawyers protecting its interests. You need similar representation in your corner.

If the victim sustained a serious injury, damages in a car crash case include money for economic losses, such as medical bills, as well as noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Minnesota law defines a “serious injury” as one that triggers more than $4,000 in doctor bills.

Seeing a Doctor

The most important part of a personal injury case is not the compensation or justice that a settlement brings. Instead, your health is the top priority.

Many car crash injuries are difficult to diagnose and treat. Whiplash is a good example. In a typical car accident, the victim’s head violently snaps forward and then violently snaps back. It’s just like the cracking of a whip. As a result, the victim sustains a serious head and neck injury. But whiplash normally does not show up on X-rays, MRIs, and other common diagnostic tests.

There are other issues as well. Most health insurance companies do not pay for car crash injuries, due to liability questions. So, even seeing the doctor in the first place may be a problem.

Buffalo, MN car accident attorneys offer solutions here. Most attorneys have relationships with injury physicians. These doctors know how to diagnose and treat soft tissue injuries, like whiplash. Moreover, thanks to the letter of protection, this treatment costs no money upfront. The medical provider agrees to defer billing until the claim is resolved.

Prompt medical treatment also increases the case’s value. If the victim waits even a few days to see a doctor, the insurance company may later claim that the victim’s injuries must not have been very bad.

Buffalo, MN Car Accident Attorneys and Claim Evaluation

Ascertaining what the case is worth is perhaps the most critical step in the process. Evaluating a claim is partly science and partly art.

The aforementioned economic losses are usually fairly easy to calculate. Typically, Minnesota law limits recovery to dollar value only. For example, if the family pet dies in the accident, the family is usually only entitled to the pet’s economic value, regardless of the emotional bond. But that’s not true in other cases. A family car may have a value that far exceeds its Blue Book value.

In terms of medical bills, the victim receives compensation based on the value of the services and not the amount actually paid. Assume Vincent Victim has a $10,000 medical bill and his team of Buffalo, MN car accident attorneys reduces the bill to $6,000. If the insurance company pays $10,000, Vincent keeps the other $4,000.

Pain and suffering, loss of consortium (companionship), emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment in life are a bit more complex. To calculate these noneconomic losses, most Buffalo, MN car accident attorneys use a multiplier based on factors like:

  • Severity of the accident,
  • Strength of the victim/plaintiff’s evidence,
  • Any insurance company defenses, and
  • Attitudes (pro-victim or pro-insurance company) of potential jurors.

The multiplier is based on the economic losses. Typically, the calculation starts at three times the economic damages and then moves up or down.

Finalizing the Matter

Around 95 percent of personal injury cases settle out of court. Some do not even make it to court, as a  large number of these cases settle quickly.

Once Buffalo, MN car accident attorneys evaluate the case, they usually send demand letters to the insurance company. If there is no reasonable dispute as to liability, insurance companies have a duty to settle the claim straightaway. Sometimes, like in drunk driving cases, liability is quite clear. But typically, the case moves forward to the next phase.

The settlement negotiations which begin with the damnd letter do not end just because an attorney files court papers. These negotiations continue. Many settlements occur due to this back-and-forth exchange of settlement offers. As discovery proceeds and each side learns more about the other side’s claims and defenses, the likelihood of settlement increases.

A professional mediator is a great help here. Indeed, most Wright County judges refer contested personal injury cases to mediation. The mediator works to bring the parties together on the issues. In most cases, mediation is at least partially successful. The parties either completely resolve the claim or at least narrow the issues for trial.

Negligence trials are extremely rare, but they do happen. The trial may be before a judge or a jury. At trial, the victim/plaintiff must prove negligence or negligence per se by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not).

Contact an Aggressive Lawyer

Injury cases usually settle out of court and on victim-friendly terms. For a free consultation with experienced Buffalo, MN car accident lawyers, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We routinely handle matters in Wright County and nearby jurisdictions.

How MN Personal Injury Lawyers Get Around the Graves Amendment

Negligent entrustment is one of the most common vicarious liability theories in Minnesota. According to this rule, vehicle owners may be responsible for damages if they allow incompetent drivers to use their vehicles.

Third party liability theories like negligent entrustment are especially important in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases. The damages in cases like these can easily be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Minnesota has one of the lowest auto insurance minimum requirements in the country. So, many times, the tortfeasor (negligent driver) does not have enough coverage to provide full compensation.

Commercial negligent entrustment cases are quite common. Rented cars and trucks dot Minnesota highways. To obtain fair compensation in these cases, MN personal injury lawyers must work a little harder, because of the Graves Amendment. This law purports to exempt vehicle rental companies from the negligent entrustment rule.

“Trade or Business”

Lawmakers added 49 U.S.C. 30106 to a large omnibus transportation bill in 2002. Like many other obscure policy riders, many legislators probably did not know exactly what they were voting on. There is no legislative history backing up the Graves Amendment. Furthermore, lawmakers only debated it for a few minutes on the floor.

Nevertheless, insurance companies often try to use the Graves Amendment to limit compensation in U-Haul, Ryder, Enterprise, Avis, and other vehicle rental cases. However, the law’s vagueness and ambiguity plays into the hands of MN personal injury lawyers.

Under subsection (a)(1), vehicle owners are not liable for car crash damages if they are in the “trade or business” of renting vehicles. Rep Sam Graves (D-MO) had small businesses in mind when he authored this provision. He wanted these businesses to be immune from liability if they rented vehicles to incompetent drivers who caused car crashes.

But the brief Graves Amendment does not define this key phrase. So, MN personal injury lawyers must look elsewhere. The Uniform Commercial Code defines “merchant,” a similar term, as someone who has a special knowledge about a good or service.

Most companies that rent vehicles have no special knowledge about them. They may not be able to even give customers basic information, like the engine’s horsepower or the total weight-bearing capability.

If the vehicle owner is not in the “trade or business” of renting cars, the Graves Amendment does not apply.

“Not Otherwise Negligent”

For immunity to apply, the owner or agent must also not be negligent in the rental transaction.

Back in 2002, there was no technology to verify drivers’ licenses outside the DMV. So, a visual inspection was always sufficient. But technology has advanced quite a bit. Now, it is arguably the industry standard to electronically verify drivers’ licenses prior to completing vehicle rental transactions.

Violation of the industry standard is nearly always clear evidence of negligence, or a lack of ordinary care.

Sometimes, MN personal injury lawyers use the following approach to determine negligence. If the customer’s license was invalid or suspended, there is a strong presumption of negligence. If the customer’s driving record showed an accident or two, there probably is no negligence. If the customer had prior safety suspensions, MN personal injury lawyers may introduce additional evidence to show negligence.

In almost all civil cases, the victim/plaintiff must prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not). Such evidence usually entitled the victim/plaintiff to damages. These damages normally include compensation for both economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages may be available as well, in some cases.

Call Today To Speak To A MN Personal Injury Lawyer From Carlson & Jones

It is difficult, but not impossible, to obtain fair compensation in commercial negligent entrustment cases. For a free consultation with an experienced MN personal injury lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. Home and hospital visits are available.

How Do Brainerd Lawyers Fight DWI’s?

Drinking-and-driving infractions are quite common in semi-rural areas like Crow Wing County. In some jurisdictions, as many as half the probationers were convicted of DWI. Due to the high volume, many Brainerd Lawyers automatically try to arrange plea bargains in these cases. Especially if the defendant took a chemical test, which most do, these attorneys believe that the state’s evidence is just too overwhelming.

However, that’s not always the case. Even if the defendant provided a chemical sample, it’s possible to fight a DWI charge and win.

What is at Stake?

Even if you are convicted of a first-time DWI, you may some jail time. You will almost certainly serve a lengthy period of probation. But those are not the biggest consequences of a DWI.

One major effect is possible drivers’ license suspension. In a place like Brainerd that has very little public transportation, a drivers’ license is practically a necessity. There may be no other way to run necessary errands, get to and from work, and get the kids to and from school. A first DWI could mean up to a one-year suspension.

Higher insurance rates are the second major consequence. These costs are usually the biggest ones, by far, in a DWI. Many people may see their rates increase by as much as 90 percent. Their rates usually stay that high for at least three years.

Attacking the FSTs

The Field Sobriety Tests almost always provide probable cause for the arrest. Legally, if the officer did not have probable cause, the arrest is invalid and so is the prosecution. If the defendant did not provide a chemical sample, and about one in five do not, the FSTs also serve as evidence of intoxication at trial.

So, it’s important to undermine the FSTs to the greatest extent possible. At Carlson & Jones, our Brainerd lawyers use proven methods to do just that.

  • Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus: In the HGN test, defendants must track moving objects with their eyes without moving their heads. If there are involuntary pupil movements at certain angles, the person probably has nystagmus. One problem with the HGN DWI test is that it often takes place at night while overhead squad car lights flash in the defendant’s face. Another problem is that alcohol is not the leading cause of nystagmus. In fact, it’s not even close to the leading cause of nystagmus.
  • Walk and Turn: For the heel-to-toe walk test, defendants must walk a straight line heel-to-toe then walk back the same way. Officers are supposed to give defendants the opportunity to remove high-heel shoes and account for various disabilities, but they don’t always do those things. Furthermore, it is almost impossible for anyone, drunk or sober, to walk an imaginary line in the dark heel-to-toe.
  • One Leg Stand: Much like the WAT, the OLS is a divided attention test that measures both physical and mental ability. Also like the WAT, officers often testify that the defendant “failed” the test based on a technicality like lifting the leg at a slightly-incorrect angle.

Some peace officers in Brainerd also use unapproved FSTs, like reciting the ABCs or the finger-to-nose test. But these tests are usually either inadmissible or only admissible for limited purposes.

How Brainerd DWI Lawyers Challenge Chemical Tests

If the defendant provides a chemical sample, it is nearly always a breath sample. Per a recent Supreme Court decision, officers must obtain search warrants to perform blood tests. Except in rare cases, they usually do not take that extra step.

Today’s Breathalyzer is a small device that looks very high-tech. But on the inside, it is basically the same gadget as the Drunk-O-Meter which appeared in the 1950s. So, the Breathalyzer suffers from some of the same flaws, including:

  • Acetone Levels: Diabetics, smokers, and many other individuals have high levels of these particles in their bodies. The Breathalyzer reads them as ethanol. So, the reading may be artificially high.
  • Mouth Alcohol: The law was once very strict about a fifteen-minute monitoring period. That’s no longer the case. Ironically, however, the change may benefit Brainerd DWI Lawyers and their clients. With no one to monitor the defendant, there may be no way to prove that the defendant did not burp or belch prior to the test. Such activity releases mouth alcohol which skews the results.
  • Unabsorbed Alcohol: If the defendant has been drinking in the past hour or so, the kidneys have not yet absorbed the alcohol into the bloodstream. Once again, the results may be artificially high.

These flaws are especially important in borderline BAC cases, such as a .08 or .09. Basically, the Breathalyzer measures breath alcohol and uses that value to estimate the person’s blood alcohol level. Many people do not understand that there is an extra step involved, so Brainerd lawyers must educate jurors without talking down to them.

Call Today To Speak With A Brainerd DWI Lawyer From Carlson & Jones

The anti-DUI fight is a winnable fight. For a free consultation with experienced Brainerd Lawyers, contact Carlson & Jones. We routinely handle cases in Crow Wing County and nearby jurisdictions.

BRAINERD LAWYERS

17025 Commercial Park Road
Suite 2
Brainerd, MN 56401
Toll Free: 877-344-1555
Phone: 218-454-3337
Fax: 763-682-3330
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Buffalo Lawyers

215 East Highway 55, Suite 201
Buffalo, MN 55313

Toll Free: (877) 344-1555
Phone: (612) 800-8057
Fax: 763-682-3330

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Brainerd Lawyers

17025 Commercial Park Rd, Suite 2
Brainerd, MN 56401

Toll Free: (877) 344-1555
Phone: (218) 736-9429
Fax: 763-682-3330

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Hutchinson Lawyers

114 Main Street North
Hutchinson, MN 55350

Toll Free: (877) 344-1555
Phone: (320) 289-4761
Fax: 763-682-3330

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Minnetonka Lawyers

3911 Ridgedale Dr, Suite 404E
Minnetonka, MN 55305

Toll Free: (877) 344-1555
Phone: (952) 260-9640
Fax: 763-682-3330

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