Speak With A Minneapolis DWI Lawyer Immediately After Arrest
Laws governing DWI and other criminal vehicular crimes are becoming more complex every year. These accusations are partnered with harsher sentencing guidelines and additional restrictions on offenders. In addition to criminal penalties, you may be facing administrative penalties such as the loss of your driver’s license and collateral consequences such as increases in your insurance premiums and loss of employment.
If you are facing DWI charges, it is in your best interest to seek the legal advice of a skilled lawyer. Call 612-504-5533 for a free initial consultation with Minneapolis DWI defense lawyer William Mauzy. He is board-certified as a Criminal Trial Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association and by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. In addition, he has more than 30 years of legal experience.
How DWI Charges Begin
DWI starts with a police officer or state trooper stopping a car on a public highway. The officer must have an articulable reason stop the car, but it can be as simple as a minor traffic violation or even a defective part on the car (e.g., a broken taillight).
The officer will ask the driver questions seeking to get admissions that the driver has been drinking and to assess whether the driver’s speech is slurred and whether there is an odor of alcohol coming from the car. If the officer has suspicions that the driver has been drinking, he will ask the driver to get out of the car and ask him to perform sobriety tests (e.g., one-leg stand, heel to toe walk and verbal tests).
The officer may ask the driver to take a preliminary breath test (“PBT”). If the driver takes the test and fails it, this is a factor justifying an arrest for driving while under the influence. (The evidence of this PBT is not admissible in trial.)
Failing the test or a refusal to take the PBT along with probable cause for a DWI arrest triggers the implied consent law. The driver is generally placed under arrest at this point if the officer believes he has probable cause for a DWI. The driver is taken to a police station where an implied consent advisory is read to the driver who either takes another breath test (this one can be used in court) or refuses to take the test. A refusal is a gross misdemeanor crime.
What Are The Consequences Of A Conviction?
The seriousness of the offense depends on whether the driver’s conduct involves an “aggravating factor.” There are three aggravating factors:
- “Prior impaired driving within 10 years” (usually a prior DWI, but it can be a DWI-related loss of license)
- An alcohol concentration of .16 or more
- Having a child under the age of 16 in the car
These aggravating factors determine the seriousness of the offense:
- 4th Degree DWI – misdemeanor (90 days, $1,000 fine) if no aggravating factors
- 3rd Degree DWI – gross misdemeanor (one year, $3,000 fine) if one aggravating factor or refusal to submit to test
- 2nd Degree DWI – gross misdemeanor if two or more aggravating factors or refusal plus one aggravating factor
- 1st Degree DWI – felony
A driver arrested for DWI also faces revocation of his driver’s license and in some circumstances impoundment of his or her license plates and even forfeiture of his or her car. An experienced lawyer should be retained as soon as possible to provide defense in responding to these consequences.
Get Help From Attorney Mauzy Today
William Mauzy, Attorney at Law, in Minneapolis has been defending individuals against DWI and criminal vehicular crimes for decades. Attorney William Mauzy has been recognized locally and nationally for his legal defense skills, including being named to every edition of the Best Lawyers in America and inclusion in Top 10 Lawyers and Super Lawyers list by Minnesota Law & Politics. Contact him for the help you need today.