Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Minnesota DWI Myths - Part 2 (Explained)

There are myths, legends, tall tales and there are truths.  When it comes to monsters and whatnot - such stories are probably okay. But, I guessing that when it comes to you and your future - not so much - right?  Seriously, there are a lot of stories out there about DWI arrests.  Some are not so true, some are purely false and others ... I call myths.  As an experienced Minnesota DWI attorney, I've heard them all.  Today, I expose the myth and set the truth straight.

1.  If I am convicted of Drunk Driving, and I lose my license, I can get a restricted license.

Yes, and no. Believe it or not a conviction is not required to have one's driver’s license revoked for a period of time. In nearly every case, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety can, and does, revoke driver’s licenses without requiring a court conviction of an offense of Driving Under the Influence. In fact, should your blood, breath or urine test at (.08) or greater, your license will be automatically revoked without your ever having had appeared in court or before a judge. Know this too, even if your are ultimately acquitted of DWI (or the criminal charges are dismissed) your license revocation may still stand, since the procedures and rules of the DPS operate independently of the court system. Further, a restricted license is only granted under certain circumstances and specific times.  Each case is different.

TIP: By challenging a license revocation, your attorney can have some control over when your license will be revoked, rather than when the DPS or the arresting officer says it will happen.

2. Even if I am convicted of a Minnesota DWI, because of my excellent driving record, I will probably get probation, and not have to go to jail or do community service.

Your excellent driving record really won't amount to much - when it comes to an arrest for Drunk Driving.  No probation is possible, but in most jurisdictions every person who is convicted of such an offense must serve at least 2 days in jail, or must perform some form of community service. Often there are no exceptions.  And we're only talking about a 1st offense.  If you're on your 2nd or 3rd DWI - the mandatory minimums are much more onerous.  No exceptions, unless you agree to enter a long and costly alcohol rehabilitation program.

TIP: If you consent to treatment or some other form of rehabilitation you maybe able to reduce some of the often allotted periods of jail and community service.  As a former prosecutor, I know what the prosecutor and the judge would like to see on the record before they agree to leniency.  If you're looking for a break - you need someone to go into court and get it for you.

3. If I am stopped and arrested for DWI, I am as good as convicted.

This is an all-time favorite of mine because it hits upon a maxim I learned all to well as a former DA: All arrests do not lead to convictions.  Despite the attitude of many courts and prosecutors, there are defenses to the crime of Drunk Driving which should be raised by you or your experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney.  Sadly, there are law enforcement officers who are not above coloring the truth and are willing to "fudge" their interpretation of what lead to a DWI arrest.  Also, many of these same officers are just not qualified to administer the tests you're asked to take and/or they make mistakes when doing so. Now, if you just fall on your sword and plead guilty, you have a 100% chance of being found guilty. However, i you are willing to fight for your rights, and to contest the government's case, you will have the best chance of a satisfactory outcome.  (And get this, more often than not the outcome for for the arrestee does not get worse because they want to challenge the government ... so don't be afraid to stand up for yourself!)

TIP: Pleading Not Guilty at the Arraignment does not mean that you cannot change your mind later. For this reason, do not plead guilty until you are satisfied that nothing can be done to improve your legal position. Your attorney will know how to advise you.

What You Should Do!

The number on myth I'd like to explode is this: I can defend myself effectively in this kind of case, if I just let the judge know the facts.

Sure, if you have a stomach ache - maybe it's okay to take in some Pepto. Or, if you have a headache - to self-diagnoses and pop a couple of Advil. However, if you break a bone or your appendix bursts - your best bet would be to talk to an expert. I'm sure no one would say that you should personally attempt to remove that appendix or set that bone.

If you're arrested for a Minnesota DWI, you need an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney to help you get past the many pitfalls and adverse consequences - criminal and civil - that lie in your path. Do yourself a favor and (at a minimum) consult with someone one who is experienced in the defense of DWI cases, and who is well versed on the law and facts regarding these offenses. Your investment in such representation is essential.

Call the Rolloff Law Office today to set up your free consultation.

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