Drivers in Minnesota can avoid fines, arrests, and lawsuits if they abide by the laws enforced by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and the easily understood driving regulations and statutes of the state.
Unfortunately, there are numerous occasions when Minnesotans suffer from loss of sound judgment and the inability to navigate a vehicle safely due to excessive drug or alcohol use. For those who do so, allow us to share the following information that can assist you if an officer stops you for drunk driving.
Impaired Driving Laws
Although Minnesota’s legal alcohol-concentration level is 0.08, as it is in all other states, except Utah, drivers with a lower alcohol-concentration level can also face arrest for DWI.
The consequences for driving while impaired can vary for each offender, but, in most cases, the typical penalty for a first-time DWI violator is:
- Potential jail time
- Loss of license for 30 days to one year
- Court costs, legal fees, and increased insurance premiums which can cost as much as $20,000
What to Do if Stopped
In today’s world, if an accident occurs, regardless of who was at fault, and you have been drinking, you will be a candidate for a driving citation. You can also be found to have 100 percent responsibility for any accident that occurs. And, this is true regardless of who caused the collision.
If you drink and drive, you could be stopped, arrested, and convicted. Think you have the equation down to the perfect ratios? Most individuals are not aware of how little the amount of alcohol imbibed can be to reach the 0.08 percent blood alcohol content (BAC) level. An average-sized person who drinks three to four alcoholic beverages can easily face an accusation of being a drunk driver.
Remember these points:
- When an individual is stopped for speeding, failing to use signals, not stopping at a stop sign, or even driving with a burned-out light, an officer can detain you for probable cause.
- Keep documents (registration, insurance cards) in an easily accessible place in your vehicle.
- Slow down and carefully find a safe place to pull over on the right side of the road.
- Turn on your vehicle’s inside light and put both hands on your steering wheel.
- Roll down your window.
- Be courteous to the police officer.
- Do not admit to or sign anything. If you volunteer information, such as telling the officer you had a glass of wine with dinner, this provides the official with “cause” meaning he or she can investigate the matter further. You do not have to admit you have had a drink.
- Your only obligations are to show the officer your driver’s license, vehicle registration, or proof of car insurance.
- The act of consenting to a test offers justification for the police officer to require you to take a breath, blood, or urine test, which complicate the incident.
- In Minnesota, statutes provide criminal and civil/administrative penalties if a driver refuses a test. But recent court decisions found specific criminal penalties for test refusal unconstitutional. Currently, refusal to take a blood or urine test is not a criminal offense. Criminal penalties can occur for refusing a breathalyzer.
Strengthened DWI Sanctions in Minnesota
If stopped, and you have previous arrests related to DWI, you need to be aware that Minnesota has nine DWI Court Programs for repeat DWI offenders.
In 2012, DWI courts in the state began DWI drug court programs. The specifics of these innovative and positive programs include:
- Participants who are closely supervised by a judge
- Judges who are supported by agency representatives, who collaborate to reach a common goal
- Teams which include a coordinator, case managers, substance abuse treatment providers, prosecuting attorneys, defense attorneys, law enforcement officers, parole and probation officers
- Lawyers on both sides who take the role of supporters
- DWI courts that are effective in reducing recidivism and reducing taxpayers’ costs because of the positive outcomes for the participants.
Minneapolis Criminal Defense and Personal Injury Lawyer
Kirk M. Anderson, Esq. has successfully defended criminal charges that range from misdemeanors to felony-level offenses, not only in Minnesota, but also in Wisconsin, and the United States District Court. Mr. Anderson has litigated hundreds of civil disputes and has played a part in over 50 appellate cases.
A member of the American Association of Premier DUI Attorneys and rated by Super Lawyers as one of the organization’s Rising Stars, Kirk M. Anderson is looking forward to representing and supporting you in all ways possible. Contact us at the Anderson Law Firm, PLLC today for help with your case, beginning with a free consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.