Your worst nightmare happens. You went out for a few drinks with friends and on the way home, you get pulled over by the police. Panic immediately sets in and with good reason. Being charged with, and subsequently convicted of, a DUI charge can have adverse long-term effects. The financial burden can be quite substantial not to mention a loss of license and, in some cases, jail time.
How you handle things from the moment you are pulled over can have an impact on the final outcome of the event.
When you are pulled over, the officer should inform you of the reason he has stopped you. This can range from erratic driving, failure to maintain lane, speeding, etc. The officer should have a valid reason to pull you over. Furthermore, he must have probable cause to suspect you of driving under the influence before he can request you take a sobriety test or breath test at the time of the stop.
Refusing the Test
You may be tempted to refuse to participate in any of the roadside tests in an effort to avoid being charged with DWI. It may also seem logical to delay the test as long as possible in the hopes that the readings may be a little lower if you can stall for a couple of hours.
Here’s what you need to know before you attempt to delay or outright refuse sobriety testing and the portable breath test.
When anyone is driving a motor vehicle of any kind in the state of Minnesota, something called implied consent is at play. What this means, in a nutshell, is that you agree to chemical testing for the presence of alcohol (blood, breath, or urine.) However, you are not required to participate in roadside testing (portable breath test or field sobriety testing).
So, in short, you CAN refuse the roadside testing including refusal of field sobriety testing. You cannot refuse the testing performed later the police station. You can be criminally charged if you refuse those chemical tests.
If you submit to and fail the sobriety testing or portable breath test, this gives the officer cause to arrest you. You will most likely be arrested even if you refuse the testing, but in some cases, it may be better for you to refuse the roadside testing especially if you think you will fail. You will only be giving the prosecution more evidence to prove their case.
Results can also be challenged based on the manner in which the officer conducted the test. Officers must be certified to administer these both breath tests and field sobriety tests and if they deviate from the standard testing procedures, you can argue the results were affected due to the incorrect administration of the test.
To be charged with DWI in Minnesota your blood alcohol count must be greater than.08%. Even if you test at or above .08, you may still be able to fight the results in court.
Consult with an Attorney as Soon as Possible
Before you make a decision on whether or not to allow testing, call an experienced DWI attorney who can help you evaluate the situation and advise you on the best choice for you given the circumstances.
Remember that DWIs can have serious and long-lasting implications for you and this is definitely not a case where you want to represent yourself or rely on a public defender to advocate for you.
Our firm has years of experience in defending clients against Minnesota DWI charges and we can present a vigorous and aggressive defense on your behalf. We realize how much is at stake for our clients and we work hard for each and every one of them. Our personalized approach and individual case attention is part of what has made us one of the most successful DWI attorney firms in the area.
Call us today to set up an appointment to discuss your case and find out how we can help you defend yourself against DWI charges in Minnesota.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.