Ask to speak to a Minneapolis DWI lawyer immediately upon your arrest.

DWI starts with a police officer or state trooper stopping your 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 (counting, spelling)). 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 D.W.I. and 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.

The seriousness of the offense depends on whether the driver’s conduct involves an “aggravated factor”. There are three aggravating factors:

  1. “Prior impaired driving within 10 years” (usually a prior DWI but it can be a DWI related loss of license)
  2. An alcohol concentration of .16 or more
  3. 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) 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 a revocation of his driver’s license and in some circumstances impoundment of his license plates and even a forfeiture of his car. An experienced lawyer should be retained as soon as possible to provide defense in responding to these consequences.

Minneapolis DWI Defense Attorneys

Being charged with driving while intoxicated, or driving while impaired (DWI), not only has the potential to impact your ability to drive, it can have a substantial impact on your liberty or reputation. If you are facing DWI charges, it is in your best interest to seek the legal advice of a skilled criminal defense lawyer. Call 612-340-9108 for a free initial consultation with a Minneapolis DWI defense lawyer.

Minnesota lawyer for Driving While Impaired charges.

The Law Offices of William J. Mauzy in Minneapolis has been defending individuals against DWI and criminal vehicular crimes for more than 30 years. Attorney Bill 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 by Minnesota Law & Politics.

Consequences of criminal drunk driving are complicated in Minnesota.

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.

Additional Information: