What should I do if I'm arrested for DWI or DUI?
Every year there are more than 30,000 people arrested for DWI or DUI in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Minnesota has a legal blood-alcohol limit of .08 for non-commercial drivers, and .04 for commercial drivers. If your blood alcohol content (BAC) is above these numbers and you’re in control of a moving or parked vehicle, you could be arrested for DWI.
We all find ourselves in unfortunate situations sometimes. If you’ve been arrested or charged with DWI, you probably have some questions about the charges, what happens next and what consequences you face. Below are answers to frequently asked questions about DWI in Minnesota.
Should I call an attorney before taking a blood alcohol test?
Yes, absolutely. An attorney can advise you of your rights before you submit to taking a test.
Should I take the Intoxilyzer test?
It’s a crime not to take the Intoxilyzer test. If you refuse, you may be charged with a higher-level crime, and have greater ramifications as a result of a conviction. However, it’s still incredibly important to call an attorney to get all the possible information about what to do before, during, and after taking the test.
Should I take a blood or urine test?
If you are asked to take a breath test, you do not get to choose another kind of test to be given by the police officer. If you are asked to take a blood test, you can elect to take a urine test and vice versa. Once you have taken the State's test you are entitled to a second test of your choosing and at your own costs. You should be clear to the jail personnel that you want such a test, and they cannot do anything to prevent the test from being performed. This is one of the things your lawyer will advise you about on the phone.
What else should I do or not do when arrested for DWI?
Be cooperative and polite. Do not answer any questions other than your name and address. Do not give the police a statement. Call your lawyer that evening, and as soon as you’re home. If you’re not being released, ask to speak to an attorney.
What is the Implied Consent Advisory? Is this different from my Miranda rights?
This advisory informs you of your rights regarding the taking of a blood alcohol test. Yes, it is different than your Miranda rights.
What is an Implied Consent hearing?
An Implied Consent hearing is a hearing in which your attorney will challenge the revocation of your driver's license.
What is a chemical assessment?
This is an evaluation where you meet with a trained professional who will talk with you and collateral sources about your chemical use, and determine what (if any) classes or treatment you might need.
How long will I be without my driver's license?
This depends upon the charges and if you have priors. If you are charged with a simple first-time DWI with no priors and you were under .20, your license can be revoked for up to 90 days, and you may apply for a work permit after 15 days. However, if you are under the age of 21, the general revocation rules are different. Also, if you refuse to take a test, you may lose your license for up to a year. If your BAC is over .20, the revocation period and time to apply for a work permit is doubled. If you have priors and/or other aggravating factors (i.e. a child under 16 in the vehicle) the revocation period becomes longer.
Talk to your attorney for the exact revocation period, and make sure to call him or her immediately upon being given notice of revocation, either the night of your arrest or in the mail, because you only have 30 days to challenge the revocation of your license.