After a long, cold winter in Minnesota, you’re no doubt counting yourself among those who are excited that summer is just around the corner. With more than 10,000 lakes spread throughout the state, including the nearby bordering Lake Superior, you might be gearing up for water sports or other outdoor parties. Spending the day at a lake and other outdoor amenities are fun and adventurous ways to spend the warmer months.
It’s also common to enjoy some alcoholic beverages at summertime social gatherings. However, nothing would bring your summer fun to a screeching halt quite like a traffic stop that ends with you arrested for suspected DWI. The good news is that there are several things you can keep in mind ahead of time that will help you avoid alcohol-related legal problems this summer.
If you’re not abstaining, secure safe transportation
Before heading out to join your friends or going on a summer date with your spouse, etc., it’s always best to decide ahead of time if you’re going to imbibe alcohol. While consuming a drink or two doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be unlawfully operating a motor vehicle if you were to drive afterward, you reduce the chances for a collision, as well as for a DWI arrest, if you arrange for a designated driver or call a ride-share service.
Even if you thought you weren’t going to drink and wind up having a few alcoholic beverages, you can call for a ride and pick up your vehicle later or arrange for someone you trust to drive it home for you.
Know what issues may prompt a traffic stop for suspected DWI
You might love to ride with the windows down and radio up in the summer, neither of which should present a legal problem. However, if a police officer witnesses any of the issues included in the following list, not only might you get pulled over, you could wind up facing a DWI arrest, as well.
- Excessive speed
- Driving too slow
- Vehicle swerving
- Driving wrong way on a road
- Brake lights going on and off, randomly
- Stopping without an apparent reason
- Driving at night without use of headlights
The average police officer would likely make a traffic stop for any of these issues. If he or she smells alcohol on your breath when you roll down your window, you might have to exit your vehicle to take a field sobriety test.
A DWI conviction can ruin more than your summer
If you’re arrested for suspected drunk driving, you might face criminal charges in court. A DWI conviction has implications in many aspects of life, including the issues listed here:
- Higher insurance premiums
- License suspension or revocation
- Substantial fines and fees
- Possible jail time
- Possible mandatory installation of ignition interlock device
- Employment at risk or terminated
- Professional license at risk
By being proactive and thinking ahead, you can have a fun summer without legal problems spurred by a DWI arrest. If you’ve already been charged with drunk driving, it’s best to speak with someone who experienced in navigating the criminal justice system to gain assistance in preparing your defense.