Legal Question in Criminal Law in Minnesota

4th degree dwi-first offense

I received a 4th degree dwi last week, with no priors. I was pulled over for speeding, although i was never issued a speeding ticket. I have done some reading on the challenges to the Intoxilyzer 5000 and am wondering how this may affect my case. It occurred in Dakota county. I passed the majority of my field sobriety tests, until the officer asked me to recite the alphabet backwards from 'w,' Can anyone do that?? He then gave me a breathalyzer which didn't give any reading. Then back at the station I talked to an attorney before the first test--which came back inconclusive. The officer then told me I had to take the test again. I asked to speak to an attorney again and he told me I couldn't. I reluctantly took the test again, which took like 23 times to blow into before a sample came out with a .17...what are my chances of getting this reduced?

Asked on 5/12/09, 7:01 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Derek Patrin Meaney & Patrin, P.A.

Re: 4th degree dwi-first offense

More than ever, your chances are excellent to get this reduced to Careless Driving and beat your license revocation, too.Source code litigation may have a small window, so get an attorney working on your case ASAP. I am the attorney who won the source code Supreme Court case in Minnesota a couple of weeks ago, and I urge you to visit my website or contact me about it since you have obviously done some research about it.

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Answered on 5/12/09, 7:34 pm
Maury Beaulier612.240.8005 Minnesota Lawyers

Re: 4th degree dwi-first offense

Thank you for the e-mail.

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 also additional consequences to a conviction including skyrocketing insurance rates, plate impoundments and sometimes vehicle forfeitures.

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.


Even more compelling, on April 30, 2009, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a decision related computerized source codes of breath testing devices that has added a new facet to the DWI defense attorney's ability to seek a dismissal of DWI charges by suppressing any breath test results.

Other points of a defense anaylsis 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;

For a FREE Consultation call 612.240.8005.

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Answered on 5/12/09, 10:53 pm

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