Friday, September 2, 2011

Ask a Minnesota Criminal DWI Attorney

As an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney, I get questions; lots and lots of questions.  Here are just a few I've received recently - on the topic of Drunk Driving.  Hopefully some of the suggestions listed here will assist you in understanding what the heck is going on the next time you have contact with the cops.

What should I say if I'm stopped by a police officer and he asks me if I've been drinking?
Believe it or not, you are not required to answer potentially incriminating questions.  Politely asserting that you'd like to speak with a lawyer before answering any questions (save for those about who you are) is all you have to say.

What are Field Sobriety Tests and do I have to take them?
Someone who is being investigated, by an officer, as a possible drunk driver - does not have to submit to any Field Sobriety Tests.  Generally speaking, taking these roadside tests (ie., the Walk and Turn, the One-Leg Stand and the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus) often does more harm than good to your case because the officer isn't looking for reasons to let you go.  Rather he is most likely looking for things that confirm his suspicions. That being said, if you refuse to take these tests you will most likely be arrested.

Do I have a right to an attorney before deciding whether to take a blood, breath or urine test?
You have an absolute right to speak with an attorney before submitting to any chemical testing - so long as your request to do so does not unreasonably delay the testing process.

Which test should I take - blood, breath or urine?
If a breath test is offered - you must take it. However, if blood or urine tests are proposed then a choice of tests must be made available.

Why was I charged with two DWIs?  
Minnesota has five different offenses that fall within the generic term drunk driving: (i.) Driving while under the influence of alcohol; (ii.) Driving under the influence of alcohol with a test result of .08 or more; (iii.) Driving under the influence of alcohol with a test result of .20 or more; (iv.) Driving while under the influence of controlled dangerous substances; and (v.) Test refusal.  More often then not, when someone is arrested for DWI, they are almost always automatically charge under the simple "under the influence"count - along with the appropriate charge dealing with the amount of alcohol in his or her system.

What is the punishment for drunk driving?
More often than not, if your found guilty of a first-time DWI offense you will probably be assessed a fine, your driver's license will be revoked, be required to attend an alcohol awareness class, and you will be placed on probation. A short jail sentence may or may not be required - usually that is in cases of a second or third-time offense. Other consequences might include, community work service, a chemical dependency evaluation, attending AA meetings, and a MADD victim impact panel presentation.

What should I do?
If you're looking for an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney who will represent your best interests throughout the process, call the Rolloff Law Office today to set up a free, no obligation, consultation, by dialing (612) 234-1165.

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