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Ryan Pacyga Criminal Defense

There are two forms of DWI in Minnesota. The first is if law enforcement believes you’re impaired by alcohol or a drug to the point that your normal coordination or ability to drive is compromised. The other one is testing at a 0.08 or higher blood alcohol level.

What Would Be Considered A Felony Level Or Aggravated DWI Charge In Minnesota?

We have four degrees (think of degrees as levels) of DWI in Minnesota. Fourth degree, which is the least serious, is a misdemeanor, meaning a maximum of 90 days in jail. There are a few ways to get a more serious DWI based on “aggravating factors.” If you have any aggravating factors, you will be charged with a third degree or second degree DWI. Those are both gross misdemeanors, which means that there is a maximum of one year in jail and a three thousand dollar fine. Those aggravating factors can be any one of these: 1) a prior DWI or alcohol related loss of license within the past 10 years; 2) a test refusal; 3) testing at 0.16 or higher; or 4) having children under age 16 in the vehicle with you at the time of the DWI. You can be charged with a felony DWI if you have three or more prior DWIs within the last 10 years.

What Happens After Someone Is Pulled Over On Suspicion Of DWI In Minnesota?

After the officer pulls the driver over, they’re going to walk up and talk to the driver while the driver is in the car. They’re looking for signs of impairment, like bloodshot, watery eyes, slurred speech, the odor of alcohol, confusion, or the admission of consuming alcohol. If the officer believes that they have signs of impairment, they’ll ask them to get out of the car and perform field sobriety tests. If they still believe the driver is impaired, they’ll ask him to take a portable breath test. That breath test is not admissible in evidence but it gives them an indication of whether they can arrest you or not. There are several potential challenges that a good lawyer can make on your behalf to argue that your rights were violated. If we succeed on any of those challenges, it could lead to your case being thrown out (dismissed).

If you test at a 0.08 or higher, they will arrest you for DWI and read you a warning, which tells you that Minnesota law requires you to take a test and that refusal is a crime. They’ll let you call a lawyer, if you want to, and then you have to decide whether to submit to the test at the police station or the hospital. Usually, it’s a breath test at the police station. They’ll have you blow into a machine two times and it gives you the lowest score of those two tests. If you test at a 0.08 or more, they’ll charge you with a DWI. Even if you’re under 0.08 by a small amount, they may still try to charge you with driving while impaired. If they ask you to take a urine or blood test and you don’t consent, they’ll try to get a search warrant to require you to submit to that testing.

What Happens When Someone is Suspected Of Being Impaired With Drug Use?

The police will ask you if you’ve consumed any prescription drugs or other drugs. Regardless of what you say, they’ll typically put you through a separate set of field sobriety tests. Some of those are the same as they would do if they suspected alcohol and others are slightly different. They may call in a drug recognition evaluator. These people have special training on some of the different tests to give you. If they believe they have enough cause at that point, they’ll apply for a search warrant for a urine or blood test. Once they get the search warrant, they’ll try to make you take a blood or urine test. If you refuse, they will charge you with a refusal.

Am I Required To Take The Roadside Test?

You’re not required to take roadside field sobriety tests and you’re not required to take a roadside breath test. If the officer believes that you’re impaired, even if you don’t take the roadside breath or field sobriety tests, they still have a right to arrest you. Usually, you’re just making the evidence worse for yourself if you take the roadside field sobriety tests or the roadside breath tests because those roadside tests are very biased and very unreliable. You’re not required to. If you think you’re going to pass those tests very well, then go ahead and take them. If you’re not so sure, you’re better off not taking those tests. There are plenty of people who are 100 percent sober and can’t even pass the field sobriety tests. Those are flawed from their very inception and a good DWI lawyer knows how to expose their flaws to the jury.

For more information on DWI Charges In The State Of Minnesota, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (612) 351-1786 today.

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Ryan Pacyga Criminal Defense

Let Us Protect You Now
(612) 351-1786
Contact Us 24/7