Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Top 5 Minnesota DWI "Rules"

Although there is really only one foolproof way to "beat" a Minnesota Drunk Driving arrest, there are some things that you can do to protect yourself from doing the government's work for them. 

Sure, if you follow these "rules" it is quite possible that you will be arrested; but, if you don't follow them, it is just as likely that you'll be taken into custody. The difference between the two?  Well, for one, you can save yourself from giving law enforcement the kinds of evidence that they will later use against you in court.  In addition, you might make it easier for an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney to win you a favorable result - when and if you are ever charged with Drunk Driving.

It goes without saying that the easiest way to avoid the attention of law enforcement - when traveling on the highways and byways of the State of Minnesota is to follow the rules of the road.  This includes - abiding by the speed limit (the most common circumstance I've seen for the cops to initiate a vehicle stop,) not texting and driving, wearing your seat belt, coming to a complete stop for stop signs and/or traffic lights, and driving entirely within your lane of travel.  If you've failed to heed this warning, then you need to follow these rules.

#1 - Never Admit to Drinking

Don't get me wrong, any contact with law enforcement is bound to be stressful and often, a certain human-instinct kicks in where you want to be helpful. If you're like me, you either believe you can negotiate your way through the situation - proving your innocence to the police officer - and/or you somehow come to think that if you cooperate with him that he'll take some sort of pity upon you and in the face of (often) insurmountable evidence just let you go.  Believe me, neither of these courses of action is better than doing and saying nothing.

When the police start asking you about where you've been, where you're going, or what you've been drinking - believe it or not their #1 concern isn't - or your well being; rather, what they're trying to do is gather information - that they might use against you at a later time.

Remember, your right to remain silent - you don't have to answer these questions. Instead, offer up you identification information and then graciously zip your lip.

#2 - Field Sobriety Tests - Don't Do 'Em!

In the past, I've tried to make my opinions known on this issue - here, here, and here.  The simple truth of the matter is - virtually nothing you can do during the performance of these tests is going to make it any less certain that you will not be arrested.  Remember, your performance on these "tests" is being judge by someone who thinks you've been driving drunk.  With that said, isn't safe to assume that he is not going to be looking for your successes; rather, his focus is going to be on your failures - where you're performance is not perfect.  Therefore, this rule is a simple one -  say No to the Field Sobriety Tests.

#3 - The Portable Breath Test - Don't Do it!

The reasons for this are the same reasons as for why you should politely decline doing the Field Sobriety Tests - you don't have to, it doesn't help you, it helps the officer make his case against you, and they're often unreliable.  In addition, this test is not allowed to be entered into evidence in your case.  Again, just say NO to the PBT!

#4 - Exercise your Right to Speak to Minnesota DWI Attorney
If you do as I've suggested you do - it is all but certain that at some point you'll be arrested.  At that moment, you're supposed to entitled to speak a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer. Once you ask for an attorney, the police are should stop any questioning of you and take the reasonable steps to get you get in touch with a lawyer. That's your Constitutional Right - use it. Don't let the cops try to talk you out of it. I know this is going to be hard to understand, but asking for a lawyer does not make you look guilty. It makes you look smart. People ask for attorneys because they need an expert help them deal with the police. Don't be afraid to get help.

#5 - Treat the Police With Respect - Even if They're Rude to You 

DWI investigations are not fun - for anyone. And believe it or not, that kind officer who on another occasion helped find your dog, may not have that same disposition when it comes to dealing with you when he thinks you've been driving drunk.

No matter how hard it can (and often will) be - you have to remain calm and hold your tongue. If you don't - your actions will be used against you later --- this I can assure you. The calmer you remain and the less you let the cops get to you - the better your case.


The next time you are stopped and investigated for Drunk Driving, put these five suggestions to use. You'll be glad you did. If your reading this after you've been stopped (and thinking - "where was this before I was so stupid?") don't fret. Just because you've been arrested for a DWI does not mean you will be convicted of that offense.

Take the next right step - be smart, now, and contact an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney to explain to you your rights and to fight for you in court.

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