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.
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.
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.