Friday, July 29, 2011

DWI Tests - Does Anyone Pass?

The standardized field sobriety tests ("FSTs") - commonly used by police officers during their Drunk Driving investigations to determine whether a driver is under the influence of alcohol - are not meant to be passed.  Rather, more often than not, these "tests" are employed to confirm a suspicion the officer has already developed. Therefore, because you can can only "fail" these tests - my suggestion is don't take them.

What are FSTs?

Typically, they consist of 3 or 4 different exercises, such as the Walk-and Turn test, the One-Leg Stand test, Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus testing (ie., the follow the pencil with your eyes examination) and the alphabet recitation exercise.

In the end, no matter your feelings on how well you did on the tests, the officer's subjective opinion as to whether you "passed" or "failed" is all that really matters.

The FSTs Don't Prove Anything

These tests, which have been around for sometime, have unfortunately gained a certain aura of credibility with judges and juries; however, believe it or not they have no real basis in science for determining intoxication and as such I believe their useless.

As any police officer worth his salt will tell you, the decision to arrest someone is made at the driver’s window - not after these tests have been performed.  If that's the case, then why are drivers asked to perform these "test"? Generally speaking , you're asked to do these roadside gymnastics so that additional evidence can be gathered against you. 

Think of it, since the officer has already made up his mind to arrest you - is he going to be looking for things you do that change that opinion - or validate it?  Considering that these tests you are asked to be perform are often done under extremely stressfull situations, in less than ideal circumstances and weather - you have a recipe for disaster.

What Should You Do?

Contact the Rolloff Law Office today at (612) 234-1165 for your free, no obligation consultation. You need an aggressive Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney on your side; someone who will listen to you and ensure that you get the best outcome for your particular case. Therefore, don’t hesitate - make sure you have the right representation by your side immediately.  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The True Cost of a Minnesota DWI

If you've been arrested for DWI - chances are criminal charges are probably not far behind. But, believe me the "cost" of those charges is going to be more than just the fine or the jail time you could receive if you plead and/or are found to be guilty of that offense. This is why, when you approach the question of whether you should hire an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney , you should look at it as an investment in your future - to preserve not only your rights... but also your pocketbook.

What You Could Be Facing

For someone convicted of Drunk Driving, the possible penalties you could face include: revocation of your driver's license, fines, and in some cases - jail time. However, in addition to the penalty a judge could impose, you could also be facing a number of hidden penalties.  One of these is the threat of an increase to your car insurance.  A conviction for Drunk Driving can double or even triple your rates in the short term.  One company, Progressive, asserts that they'll seek to charge you approximately double what you were previously paying if you are convicted of a DWI and that you should expect to pay that rate for it for at least a few years.
Another great article (link here) making almost the same point - suggests that unless your cab fare would be in excess of $10,000 - you may want to strongly consider paying pay for that taxi. 
Do the math, and after you add up the fines and the fees - as well as the increased insurance premiums - the final total will likely run into the thousands of dollars. Add to that the prospect of a criminal record that will follow you wherever you go - and I would hope that you see just how seriously you need to take these matters. 

Remember, you really only get one chance at these things; wouldn't you do whatever it took to protect yourself for the long term?

What Can You Do?
Understand this -  the money you spend today, could be the only insurance you have against the additional costs that you'll most assuredly have to pay in the future.  If you've been charged with a DWI you really need to consider the services of an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to represent you - if not for the here and now - then for the days and years to come. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

One Minnesota DWI = Two Charges?

An all too common question I get as a Minnesota DWI Attorney is: "I was arrested for Drunk Driving, but I'm charged with breaking two different laws; why?"

In the State of Minnesota, when someone is arrested and charged with a DWI - the accusation is that that individual failed to operate his or her vehicle in the same, careful manner that a sober person would - under the same circumstances. 

In addition to that, bowing to pressure from the federal government - related to the dolling out of highway monies - states like Minnesota adopted per se Drunk Driving laws. These laws established a "legal limit" - as it regards the amount of alcohol you can legally have in your blood - before your driving becomes illegal.  In Minnesota, the limit was once (.10) --- now it is (.08). 

Therefore, if someone is found to have been operating and/or in physical control of a motor vehicle at a time in which the alcohol in his/her system was (.08) or higher - as established by a test of their blood, breath, or urine - they can be charged with a DWI.  Even if the person doesn't exhibit any of the typical signs of Drunk Driving, and is able to drive just fine, they can be charged with a DWI based only on their body's chemistry.

Generally, the government will usually charge both crimes: the traditional DWI (see Minn Stat § 169A.20,  subd. 1) where they accuse someone of being unable to drive with the same caution as a sober individual and the per se violation (see Minn Stat § 169A.20 subd. 5) for being above the legal limit.

In the end, a conviction on one charge is the same as a conviction on the other. Essentially, it's just two ways of charging the same crime and it just gives the government two bites at the same apple.

The good news (if you can call it that) is if someone is convicted of both Drunk Driving and being above the legal limit, they are only punished once.

If you have been arrested for Drunk Driving, your next best move is to contact an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney for a free consultation to learn your rights.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Ignition Interlock (Explained)

As of July 1, 2011, the DWI laws have changed here in the State of Minnesota and as such the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has stopped issuing work permits or limited driver’s licenses to first-time DWI offenders whose alcohol concentration are found to be above (0.15) - and all to any repeat Drunk Drivers. 

In place of these long-standing remedies, the DMV has begun an Ignition Interlock program. 

Ignition Interlock?

An ignition interlock is a device that a driver blows into prior to starting his or her vehicle (and occasionally after the vehicle has been started.) If the device detects alcohol in the driver's breath, it "locks" the driver out. Theoretically, if the device is in a car and working properly, the driver won't be able to start the car and won't run the risk of driving drunk. As a result, everyone is safer, right?

Granted, the program does allow for drivers to regain their full driving privileges more quickly, in some cases as soon as they can be set up the program, after a Drunk Driving arrest; however, it ain't going to be cheap.  And, if you can't pay - you can't drive.

Ignition Interlock - Is it for You?

I can't deny that this program will be particularly beneficial for drivers whose licenses have been canceled as Inimical to Public Safety (IPS) or for those individuals who have had multiple alcohol-related driver's license revocations or DWI convictions - because it may allow those most drivers to actually regain their licenses in a reasonable amount of time.  (Prior to such a program, a driver canceled IPS had almost no option other than to wait out the entire cancellation period.)

However, due to the fact that these new laws could impact 1st time offenders - with relatively low alcohol concentrations - the question remains: Will it hurt more alleged violators than it helps?

For those who are willing to comply with the program's requirements, a huge disadvantage is that it can be quite expensive. In addition to the driver's license reinstatement fee you must pay (of aproximately $680.00) you could also be assessed certain application fees to even get into the program.  You might also be ordered to complete (or at least enroll in) certain chemical treatment and/or health assessment programs.

Coupled with those costs, the Ignition Interlock device (and the monitoring equipment) also comes at a price.  As of the now, it's believed that to install it will set you back aproximately $100 - and to operate it --- that could top out at something approaching a $125 each month.  All in all, if your license is revoked for up to a year - you're looking at a total cost approaching $2,000 or more.

How Will This Impact You?

The program's requirements will vary depending on your driver’s license status - whether your license has been revoked or canceled and/or if you have previous revocations or cancellations for Drunk Driving on your record.

Sometimes practical considerations also might come into play such as: What if you must drive a work vehicle or what if your spouse also drives your car?

Because this program is a new one, a number of kinks are going to need to be worked out - and unfortunately these "common" problems aren't always going to come with easy answers.

What Should You Do?

If you are facing a loss of your driver’s license, because of a Drunk Driving Arrest, the best thing you can do is to speak to an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney today.  Get the answers you need - and the defense you deserve.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pleading "Guilty" the Right Way

I understand that the optimal result for anyone charged with a crime is to see it dismissed or in the alternative to have a judge or jury find them not guilty.  However, there are those times - whether it's that the State's case is a strong one or a client just wishes to not have a trial  and to be done with the whole affair - that I am tasked with answering one of the most difficult questions a defense attorney has to hear: "If I (have to) plead guilty - is there anything that can be done to lessen how that will look on my record?"

How Do I Plead Guilty?

As a former prosecutor and as an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I know that proper representation can have a huge impact on limiting the impact that a "guilty" plea will have on an individual's record.  Believe it or not, there are a number of alternative dispositions (short of a plea of a straight-up "guilty" plea) that are used to conclude cases everyday in courts throughout the state.  Some of these options include:

I.   Certification of an Offense as a Petty Misdemeanor

The answer to the question: when is a crime not a crime - is when that crime/offense is charged as and/or reduced toPetty Misdemeanor. According to statute,  petty offenses do not constitute crimes.  Therefore, if say the Misdemeanor you were initially charged with is later reduced to a Petty Misdemeanor - at any date in the future if you are ever asked if you have been convicted of a criminal offense - as it concerns that offense - you can truthfully answer "no."

II.   Stay of Adjudication

Under a stay of adjudication, an individual admits to facts in court that would support a conviction; however, instead of accepting the plea, a judge (after an agrrement has been reached with the government) withholds a finding of guilt, for a period of time, usually on the condition that that individual do (or do not do) certain things.  If you sufficiently comply with those conditions, the matter will ultimately be dismissed and the plea will be vacated.

III.   Continuance for Dismissal (and/or Without a Plea)

This outcome is similar in form to a Stay of Adjudication - insofar as the ultimate result could end up being a dismissal; however, instead of setting forth facts that would support a conviction, the government usually agrees to end its prosecution after a certain period of time - provided that the offender pays some prosecution/court costs and/or is not charged with any same or similar type offenses before that time period expires.

IV.   Stay of Imposition:

For more serious offenses, like Felonies, an individual may plead guilty (or even be found to be guilty;) however, instead of sentencing him/her on said Felony - judges can stay imposition of the sentence for a period of time on certain terms and conditions. If the individual complies with those terms, their Felony "conviction" could ultimately be reduced to/designated a Misdemeanor.  As such, all the collateral consequences that go along with a Felony conviction should not be a factor in your life going forward.

V.   Diversionary Programs

Certain cities and counties have programs in place that allow individuals to avoid a conviction if they agree to participate and comply with the terms of these classes. An example would be if someone successfully completed traffic school - a moving violation would be dismissed.

What Should You Do?

At the end of the day, as with almost anything involving the government, there are no guarantees that you'll be afforded any of these opportunities. However, retaining an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney may afford you a better chance to negotiate such an arrangement - on almost any type of charge.

If you want more information about your rights and to discuss how an attorney might be able to negotiate a result for you that works, contact The Rolloff Law Office today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Minnesota Probation Violations (Explained)

Probation violations are particularly serious situations - and could lead to greater consequences than the initial sentencing imposed by the court. Really?

How Does This Work?

Generally speaking, after you've been sentenced by a judge, you can be summoned  back into court (or arrested for as much) to answer an allegation that you've violated a term of that sentence. The initial inquiry will then be whether you admit or deny the allegation.  In such cases, especially if you are unaware of the consequences the government would be seeking if you admitted and/or are found to have violated your probation, you should probably enter a denial and evoke your right to a hearing and (if you haven't already done so) contact a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to assist you in your defense. 

As with my earlier admonition that just because you've been charged with or cited for an offense it does not automatically mean that you will automatically be found guilty of it - the same goes for an allegation that you've violated your probation. 

The Hearing

If you deny the allegation you will be afforded a hearing to put forth your case (and/or possibly negotiate a favorable outcome with the government.)  Unlike with the initial inquiry, which was most interested in whether you actually committed the underlying crime for which your were sentenced, the only relevant issue at a Probation Violation Hearing is whether or not you violated a general or special condition imposed by the judge at the original sentencing. As such, the government is only tasked with presenting evidence that you violated the terms of your probation - by doing (or not doing) something you were ordered to.  

If you are found to have violated the terms of your probation - the worst case outcome is that the judge could seek to revoke your probation and cause you to serve any unexecuted portion of the sentence originally imposed. However, the judge also has the discretion to stay the revocation of your probation -but in turn he will likely order you to comply with some new conditions and suffer some new consequences.

What Should You Do

The consequences you could be facing - when it comes to a probation violation - can be quite steep. As an example, let's say you plead guilty to a Drunk Driving and received a sentence of a year in jail; however, instead of that full year, the judge only imposed a small amount of that time (say 30 days) staying and/or suspending the other 335 days on certain terms and conditions. Then, it is alleged that you failed to fully comply with those terms. If that is ultimately found to be true - by the judge, you could be (worst case scenario) ordered to serve the 335 days originally held over your head. 

For these reasons it is absolutely imperative that if you are charged with violating probation that you have an experienced and knowledgeable Minnesota Probation Violation Attorney on their side - to work with the government to ensure that that worst case scenario does not come into being.  Often, something can be worked out to preserve your original deal and/or lessen the ultimate consequence you might face if the violation is proven.  Therefore, if you're being summoned into court to answer for such a violation - talk to a pro who can make the right case for you.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DWI Urine Testing (Explained)

It's enough to make you angry or even (to be a tad vulgar) - P*ssed Off. 

Minnesota, unlike nearly every other state in the union, insists on relying on an outmoded and (IMHO) unreliable means to determine an individuals blood alcohol-concentration - they test Urine. 

What's Wrong With Urine?

Urine samples, because of the wide array of problems and challenges available to an astute, experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, are generally thought of as the least reliable of the three (blood, breath or Urine) types of chemical tests used to determine the amount of alcohol in an individuals system.

What does this mean for you? Well,the bad news is that it could lead to an unfair arrest and charges of Drunk Driving; however, do to the inherent problems in collecting and testing such samples - it could also be what gets your arrest and the subsequent charges dismissed.  Alas, the cost to getting to that point prohibits me from saying that that is "good" news.

What Problems?

There has been a lot of heated arguments made in court rooms throughout state around the issue of Urine testing as of late.  Often those battles are over: (i.) how the sample was collected and stored; (ii.) whether or not the person from who the sample was taken got a chance to first void his/her bladder before collection, and (iii.) if a warrant is necessary to collect such a sample in the first place.

What Should You Do?

The government has doctors, lawyers and various experts on its side - shouldn't you have the same sorts of protections working for you to ensure that they're doing their job correctly, that your rights are protected and so that you can get the outcome you desire?  If you answered YES to that question - you are taking responsibility, for yourself, your actions, and your future - as such, you should reach-out to an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney.

The Rolloff Law Office picks apart every part of our client's DWI cases - from the conduct of law enforcement (their searches and seizures) down to an analysis of the scientific tests they require you to perform. No part of your arrest should  go unexamined.  Be smart, if you've been arrested (or believe that you will be charged with a crime shortly,) contact an attorney and learn your options.  Trust me - often it's the best investment against a uncertain future.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Will That Ticket Effect My Insurance Rates?

If you just got pulled over and were issued a ticket - after wondering "why me?" - your thoughts probably turned to the question of whether that citation will impact your insurance rates - right? The simple, short answer is YES.  But, as a Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney - I never accept simple answers.

Believe it or not, your driving record is almost as important as your credit report when it comes to saving money on car insurance. More often than not, when it comes time to renew your policy, your insurance provider (whether it's the one with the gecko, that aggressive/progressive woman Flo, that silly duck or whoever) will request a copy of your driving record to see if you have incurred any new moving violations. If you have - they're more apt to see you as a higher risk and in turn will probably adjust your rates accordingly.

More that Just a Fine

Everyone who has been issued a ticket understands that it is going to cost you something. However, if you believe that one citation will cost you just the fine, think again. Also, if you get more than one ticket - over a rather short period of time - that accumulation of infractions could cost you not only a lot of money but you could also lose your driver's license.  

What are the Costs?

Before you decide to put the pedal to the medal, you should first consider the total cost of getting caught for Speeding. In addition to the fines and assorted court costs and fees you'll be assessed, you may lose your insurance company's "good driver" discount and in-turn see your insurance rates go up - for several years. Or, even worse, your insurance provider may see fit to drop you all together - if you continue to pick up tickets.  In addition, getting a number of tickets, in a short period of time, could result in the government suspending your driver's license.

What Should You Do?

Some serious traffic violations are considered criminal charges in the State of Minnesota. Therefore, the best thing you can do if you get a  ticket for a violation like Extreme Speed, Reckless Driving, Careless Driving or Drunk Driving/DWI is to seek out an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to evaluate the situation, explain your legal rights and to represent you in court.

An attorney may be able to help you get the ticket dropped or have your fine or other penalties reduced. He may also be able to help you to keep your driving record clean and your insurance rates low.  A lawyer could also assist you in keeping your driver's license and/or (in the worse case scenario) get your driving privileges back.

If you have been charged with Speeding, Careless or Reckless Driving or DWI - contact The Rolloff Law Office for a free evaluation of your case. The effort you put forth today could save you from a greater degree of misery in the future. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

MN's Ignition Interlock Program (Update)

After all of the hub-bub over the big changes in the state's Drunk Driving laws, as predicted - things haven't gotten exactly off on the right foot. 

Due to the government shut-down, most non-essential functions - like the Minnesota Department of Public Safety - have ceased operations. As such, the entity responsible for monitoring and approving drivers licenses, vehicle tabs, and among other things -monitoring the new Ignition Interlock Program - is not on the job. 

Therefore, although the law has changed - and many people are now subject to its enhanced penalties - alleged violators are currently in a state of limbo until the shutdown is over.

The Impact

Well, if you are arrested today for a first-time DWI, and your blood, breath or urine tests at or over a (.16) BAC or greater, you're going to be subject to the new provisions of the Ignition Interlock Program.

This means, an arestee could recieve, at first, a 7-Day Temporary License to drive. After that, he or she would be subject to a license revocation of up to a year - without the opportunity to acquire a limited license/work permit.  According to the new law, the only way that someone could drive legally for the next year, would be to obtain an ignition interlock device.

What Can You Do?

In theory, someone arrested for DWI after the change in the law, July 1, 2011, would fill out the necessary paperwork, obtain the necessary insurance, pay the necessary reinstatement fee, and install an interlock device during that 7-Day temporary license period.

However, due to the shut-down the additional conditions (ie., the day to day monitoring) can not be effectuated.  Therefore, individuals who are arrested right now CAN'T get into the program.

So, where right back to where we were before the law was changed with individuals out driving illegally and putting public safety at risk.  In a word: Not Good.  

Defending a DWI

An experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney who understands the new Drunk Driving laws can be a valuable asset in defending your case - and ensuring that your rights are protected.  These include but are not limited to raising issues about the methods used to determine intoxication and the methodology employed by law enforcement. Consulting with an attorney is always the best course of action for any type of arrest.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Minnesota DWI Arrest - Now What?

If you've been arrested for Drunk Driving - you probably have a million questions. These are some of the  most frequent questions I get.

• What's really going to happen to me as a result of my arrest?

Not only will you be facing the possibility of criminal sanctions - you also need to know you could lose your driver's license, have your vehilce's license plates impounded and be subject to having an Ignition Interlock Device installed . 

What kind of penalty am I likely to get after DWI offense?

If it is your first offense, most judges order you to pay a fine, do some sort of community work-service and an have your alcohol use assessed.  If this is your second, third or fourth offense, then the penalties are more severe and could include increased fines, looooong jail sentences, and even the loss of your vehicle.

•Will it is dangerous to take a blood, breath or urine test if I'm asked?

In Minnesota, if you fail to test - back at the station - that's a crime in an of itself.  Before being asked to provide a sample for testing, take advantage of your right to consult an expereinced Minnesota DWI Attorney. Due to the recent changes in the state's DWI laws - you'd be foolish to do otherwise.

•Can a Minnesota DWI Lawyer help avoid a conviction for a first-time DWI arrest?

An experienced and qualified DWI lawyer can help you to avoid or reduce the penalties and punishments you might face, if you've been arrested for Drunk Driving. At a minimum, he'll ensure that the government followed standard procedures and if they failed to do so - he will make the proper arguments in court to ensure that those errors are pointed out.  

If you or someone you love has been arrested for Drunk Driving, you should immediately contact an experienced Minnesota DWI Lawyer to learn your rights and to begin the fight to get you the results you desire. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Top 5 - There Are No Stupid Questions?

You'd think I'd heard them all, but everyday (and in almost every way) i get questions - lots and lots of legal questions.  Here are my (current) Top 5 favorites - The Traffic Edition.


Q: Can I get a DWI while riding a horse?
A: No.  The same goes for a bicycle too.  Why? Because neither has a motor.


Q: Can I get a DWI, even if I am on private property?     
 A: Yes. Minnesota's DWI laws apply everywhere - on land, on the water and on ice.


Q: Is the speed listed on the yellow and black signs near curves enforceable?  
A: Sort of. Although traveling at a speed greater than those posted on said signs is not per se illegal, there is a provision in the statute that says that "[n]o person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions." as such - almost any speed, under the right (or better yet - wrong) conditions could be found to be illegal.


Q: Can I drive barefoot?
A: Yes, but it’s probably not a good idea in middle of winter.


Q: If I run a yellow light, will I get a ticket?
A: Maybe? You might get a ticket - but the conduct is NOT illegal.  As a matter of fact, as long as your front bumper is actually in the intersection when the light turns red, you've done nothing wrong.

-Bonus Question!-

Q: If I get a ticket, what should I do?
A: Don't just plead guilty. Remember, it is the government's job to prove - beyond a reasonable doubt - that what you've been alleged to have done is in fact illegal. Hold them to their duty.  Talk to an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney today and learn you're rights. Them get the results you desire.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Breathalyzer (Explained)

Most Minnesota drivers are familiar with what a Breathalyzer is and what it is alleged to do.  (In Minnesota, the Intoxilyzer 5000 is the device of choice in most jurisdictions; however, that will soon be changing as it is phased out and new Datamaster machines are employed. 

At their most basic, these devices are used by law enforcement to determine if someone is Driving Drunk - to see if a driver's alcohol concentration is (.08) or greater. 

What Does (.08) or Greater Mean For You?

If you learn one thing today, I hope it is this - a breath test result of (.08) or greater does not necessarily mean that someone is too drunk to drive. Rather, all lawmakers have done is mandate that that level of alcohol concentration in someones system - (.08) or greater - is by itself enough to determine that someone is too drunk to drive. Ass such, nothing much else about one's ability to drive really matters. The result is the result - as far as the cop, prosecutors and all to often judges and juries are concerned. Therefore, instead of being able to make a case that a driver's perceptions, conduct, balance and/or judgement are not effected by the amount of alcohol in his or her system, the work of an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney  is often centered around taking on a machine printout that by itself is presumed to prove someone is too drunk to drive a vehicle properly.

The Problems with Breath Testing

A breath tests top task is to test the level of ethyl alcohol in your blood. (One's breath is tested, instead of blood, because it is cheaper and less intrusive.)  This is done by determining the relationship between the alcohol content in one's breath and then extrapolating that number out to determine the alcohol content in one's blood. This can be done because one way alcohol is expelled from the body is through he deep tissues of the lungs which is then breathed out of the body.

However, because it is not blood - there can be problems.  Not the least of which is that the temperatures in the lungs changes throughout the process, IMHO limiting the true true relationship, or correlation, between the alcohol in your breath and in your blood - often leading to grossly inflated overestimations.  Another problem is that humans have been found to have ethanol alcohol in their systems - even without having having had consumed alcohol.  There are also extensive issues surrounding how one's breath is tested - and what the machine does and does not "read". 

At the end of the day, I feel comfortable asserting that breath test machines, like the Datamaster and the Intoxlyzer 5000, aren't 100% accurate. Therefore, the results they produce - the almighty number that will label you a Drunk Driver - is likely inaccurate. 

What Should You Do?

In addition to digesting the information collected here about the "hows" and the"whats" of Minnesota's DWI laws -  if you or someone you love has been arrested for DWI - your next best step is to contact an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to learn your rights and to have him fight for you in court.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Do Not "Just Plead Guilty" to a DWI - Ever

There are things you regret in life, right?  Lost loves; great deals gone bye-bye, that time you should've zigged - but instead you zagged...  I am all for feeling down about the dumb things we do. The fact is we're human beings (as opposed to robots) and from time to time we will do dumb things - a lot of dumb things - and afterwards we often feel bad about it.  That being said, if that dumb decision leads to you being charged with Drunk Driving, don't compound the situation by doing something even dumber. Seriously, if you've been charged with a DWI (or any other crime) you owe it to yourself to speak with an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to help you with the situation. Here's the reason why.

A DWI conviction is unlike every other criminal conviction. There is no doubt that Drunk Driving is a bad thing, but so is driving while texting. But, because DWI has been saddled with such a negative connotation, lawmakers have created some extremely harsh penalties. For example, there are often mandatory jail sentences for first-time offenders, in addition to mandatory fines, license suspensions, increased insurance rates, and as of July 1, 2011, (here in the State of Minnesota,) the possibility of mandatory interlock ignition equipment. You'll also most likely be ordered to perform some sort of community service, submit to a mandatory alcohol assessment (and to follow all of the recommendations that come from it) and there is often a probationary term. If you hire an experienced Minnesota Drunk Driving Attorney, like me, to help you, a great deal of that can usually be avoided.

Alas, far too many people assume that because they've been arrested (for doing something "wrong"), they should own up to it. No offense, but if you do that, you're foolish.

In our state's criminal courts it's the government's burden to prove that the accused is guilty - beyond a reasonable doubt. That is a right that our forefathers fought for - why not use it?  If you go into court, believing that your doing the "right" thing by just pleading guilty - and expecting the system to understand - I'm sad to say, it just doesn't work like that.

What you get for your trouble is a DWI on your record -and everything that goes along with it. But, if you taken the time to hire an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney and set him to go to work for you - you'll have someone on your side giving your desires a voice and you'll know that your rights will be protected.

In the end, we all get to make our own decisions - we all get to make our own mistakes. But every hard lesson need not come with the most severe punishment  Being altruistic, falling on your sword to show you take responsibility for what you've done, doesn't really win you any points with anyone. All it does is make your life harder.

If you are charged with a DWI, don't just go in and just plead guilty. Hire an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney as soon as you can, and fight for your rights. Not only does this decision help you have some say in the punishment you'll receive, it will also demonstrate that in fact you are taking this matter seriously.