Legal Question in DUI Law in Minnesota

my girlfriend got her first DWI $th degree what will happen

Asked on 2/22/11, 7:22 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Matthew Martin Martin Law Offices

I suggest you speak to an experienced criminal defense lawyer. Most offer free case evaluations and can help explain what is happening procedurally and help guide you through the necessary steps. A lawyer familiar with DWI and DUI in Minnesota can help explain the criminal charges and severe penalties. For instance, in Minnesota a Misdemeanor DWI can result in 90 days in jail and $1000 fine. However, there are also collateral consequences such as driverís license revocations, license reinstatement fees, court fees, increased insurance premiums, and potential restricted access to foreign countries based on your criminal record. In Minnesota, a DWI or DUI charge generally triggers a criminal case and a civil revocation of your driverís license. Timely responses are required for both. In fact, if you fail to respond to the revocation of your driving privileges, the uncontested revocation can essentially act as a criminal DWI or DUI conviction for purposes of enhanceability in subsequent DWI cases. DWI charges in Minnesota are enhanceable, meaning that subsequent charges can become more sever depending upon the disposition of a past DWI or DUI case. Accordingly, I suggest your girl friend speak to a lawyer to help her look at her case, the evidence and discuss potential defenses and evidentiary arguments before she does anything. Good Luck.

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Answered on 2/22/11, 7:53 pm
Maury Beaulier612.240.8005 Minnesota Lawyers

Thank you for the inquiry.

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.

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;

∑ 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.

For a FREE Consultation call us at 612.240-8005.

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Answered on 2/25/11, 9:23 am

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