Legal Question in DUI Law in Minnesota

I am 32 years old and was arrssted for a 4th DUI. This is my first one. I blew a .17, but took the test 27 time according to the officer. My driving record really only consists of parking tickets, no speeding or anything. I have a good job an I'm actually graduating from school in the criminal justice field in May, and now i'm very concerned. What should I do? And what penalties am I looking at?

Asked on 3/18/12, 2:15 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Maury Beaulier612.240.8005 Minnesota Lawyers
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Thank you for the inquiry. However, your post is difficult to understand. you indicate that you received your fourth DWI, but later state it was your first. Accordingly, I will assume you mean it is a fourth degree DWI and a first offense.

If you had a Blood Alcohol Content under .20, and you have no prior DWI within the last 10 years, you were charged with a fourth degree offense. This is still serious and carries with it maximum criminal penalties of up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine. If convicted any subsequent DWI offense would be much more serious and with four offenses in ten years, you can be charged with a felony. As a result, as strong defense on the first alleged incident can be critical to your future. Different Judges give different sentences. Accordingly, understanding your Judge and knowing how to change Judge's can be an important part of the process.

There is also a civil case that results in the revocation of your driver's license. On a first offense over your lifetime, you may be revoked for 30 to 90 days. This is a separate case even though the challenges are largely the same. In order to challenge your license revocation, you must seek a judicial review by filing a petition within 30 days of the offense. Do not forget this critical time period. All too often people with strong defenses come to me too late to challenge the license revocation. The end result goes well beyond simply having your license revoked. A failure to challenge results in an Implied Consent violation on your record which can also affect employment and may be used to enhance any subsequent DWI offense.

There are many challenges to a DWI. Officers must follow very specific steps as part of the arrest. If any one step is missing, the case may be dismissed.

Other points of a defense analysis include:

Reasonable Suspicion. The officer must have reasonable suspicion to believe a specific crime has been committed in order to stop a person. If that reasonable suspicion is lacking the stop and the ticket may be invalid;

Probable Cause to arrest and charge. The officer must make sufficient observations to form a basis for probable cause to believe that you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Oftentimes, officers perform field sobriety tests incorrectly making the arrest invalid;

Procedures at the Station. The officer must follow very specific procedures at the station including reading and recording an Implied Consent Advisory that informs you that you have a right to a lawyer. If any of the steps are omitted, the charges may be dismissed;

Test Procedures. Testing methods to determine blood alcohol concentrations are imperfect at best. Like any scientific method, any test result has a margin of error. If the machinery is not properly maintained and even if it is properly maintained, the test results may vary from true Blood Alcohol Concentration. A sufficient variation may result in a reduce charge or no charge.

I have over 20 years of experience representing defendants charged in DWI cases. Often the defenses do not become apparent until full discovery has been made. This includes acquiring audiotapes, videotapes (which may often exist from squad cameras and at the station), as well as police reports. In the end, we scour the records to explore every possible challenge to the prosecution's case.

For a FREE Consultation and legal representation call us at 612.240-8005.

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3/18/12, 3:01 pm
Thomas C. Gallagher Gallagher Criminal Defense Services
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After a first DWI arrest, typically the arrested person will be charged with a DWI crime, and get an adminsitrative drivers license revocation. In the criminal DWI case the driver is presumed innocent unless there eventually is a guilty plea or verdict. But the adminsitrative drivers license revocation will become permanently on the record unless the driver serves and files with the court a Petition for Judicial Review within 30 days. That is both important and urgent. To do that, driver will need a good DWI defense lawyer. Beyond that, call me or another DWI defense lawyer to review consequences and options to win.

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3/18/12, 5:26 pm

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