Whether you live in Minnesota or are just passing through, it’s a good idea to have solid information you will need to handle a police officer pull-over in our state for DWI. Here are answers to the questions drivers commonly have concerning drunk driving.
What is BAC or Blood Alcohol Concentration?
If a police officer stops you and he or she considers that you have been drinking, he or she may be asked to take a field sobriety test. In 2004, the legal limit of the amount of alcohol in a driver’s system while driving became .08 percent. Minnesota is an “Implied Consent” state, meaning the driver is obliged to submit to a blood alcohol test. BAC tests types include:
- Blood tests
- Urine testing
Can a Driver Refuse a Breathalyzer?
The officer who stops you makes the decision on which of these tests he or she administers. If a suspect refuses a breathalyzer test, it is considered a crime and can result in additional penalties. A driver can refuse a blood test or a urine test, however, but not both of these tests.
Are Breathalyzers Always Accurate?
Several factors can affect the accuracy of breathalyzer devices, such as:
- The analyzers only estimate blood alcohol levels indirectly.
- Hand-held breath analyzers vary 15 percent from actual BAC.
- Improper calibration of the devices may skew readings.
- The devices are sensitive to both subject and ambient temperatures.
- Failures of accounting for changes in the human hematocrit (cell volume of blood) can affect findings.
- The conversion factor in converting lung air alcohol concentration to blood alcohol concentration may give false readings, and more.
May I Continue to Drive if I Lose my License?
If your license is taken away due to a DWI incident and you continue to drive, you will likely suffer more severe consequences. These results could include fines and prison time.
Can I Get Car Insurance after a DWI?
It may be that your insurer will continue providing insurance after a conviction, but your rates will, in most cases, become higher. When you establish a clean driving record once again, your rates may decrease over time. Your best choice is to rely on friends and family for transportation or public transportation methods.
What Penalties will I Incur for DWI?
First-time offenders may face possible sentences that could include steep fines and time in jail. With the assistance of an experienced attorney, some offenders receive less restrictive punishments, such as:
- Community service
- Alcohol awareness training
- Alcohol abuse counseling
If there are subsequent offenses, the possibility of prison time increases and driving privileges are taken away, at least for a time.
How Can I Continue to Work without Driving Privileges?
Occasionally, offenders receive what is called a “hardship license.” This document allows them to drive only to work and back home again. Further penalties will develop if the driver does not stay within the strict limitations of this certificate.
Can I Avoid Penalties from a DWI?
Anyone can avoid the problems that follow a DWI by not drinking and driving. The choices you have when you are drinking and do not want to face arrest include:
- Appointing a designated driver
- Calling an Uber or a taxi
- Call a relative or a friend to get you
- Don’t drink if you know you are going to have to drive
Once you have begun to drink, you are not capable of deciding whether you can drive or not. But, yes, a skilled and knowledgeable drunk driving defense lawyer can almost always mitigate your actions and improve the outcome of your DWI.
Do I Need an Attorney if I Plead Guilty?
Even if you plead guilty, top-notch counsel often can:
- Maximize your opportunities
- Minimize your sentence
- Equalize the balance of power
- Ensure your constitutional rights
- Guide you through the legal minefields
Anderson Law Firm, PLLC – Minneapolis Criminal Defense
Should you need the assistance of an experienced Minneapolis attorney, contact us or fill out this form, and Kirk M. Anderson, Esq. will discuss your case with you. Mr. Anderson is ready to fight for you and will establish the next best steps for your situation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.