If you’re wondering, “What happens if you get a DUI in Minnesota?” you’ve come to the right place. Whether you were charged with a DUI yourself or you know someone who was, it is a stressful and confusing situation to be in. In the state of Minnesota, DUI/DWI convictions are taken very seriously. However, if you know what to expect, how to navigate the conviction, and how to hire the right attorney, you can make well-informed decisions to help yourself as much as possible.
Let’s explore what a DUI conviction means in Minnesota and what you should do about it.
What Is a DUI?
DUI is an acronym that stands for “driving under the influence.” The type of influence stated here specifically refers to alcohol. When a person is charged with a DUI, the prosecutor has to prove that the person driving was under the influence of alcohol. If a driver is pulled over and suspected of driving drunk, an officer will typically administer a breathalyzer to determine the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). However, the driver can still be charged with a DUI without evidence from a breathalyzer.
DUI vs. DWI In Minnesota
You have likely heard the terms DUI and DWI and may be confused about the distinction between the two. The meaning of DUI and what it takes to be charged with one was just explained. DWI means “driving while intoxicated.” While a DUI charge requires the prosecutor to prove that the driver was under the influence of alcohol, a DWI requires the prosecutor to prove that the driver was under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances. Although this distinction exists, in Minnesota, the two terms are used interchangeably because the state determined that the separate terms are too laborious to prove.
The following criteria are used to determine whether or not a DUI or DWI charge is appropriate:
- The driver has a BAC greater than or equal to .08%
- The driver is under the influence of any controlled substance, drug, or alcohol
- It has been determined that the driver has a bodily content of a scheduled drug
What Are Minnesota’s DUI Degrees?
There are no national DUI standards. Each state establishes its own. For example, in Minnesota, a BAC of .08% or greater will result in a DUI, but it only takes a BAC of .05% or greater in the state of Utah. There are four degrees of DUI charges in Minnesota, and their penalties range from a misdemeanor to a felony. The charge an impaired driver receives depends on the damage caused by their behavior and their BAC, among other factors.
A first-degree charge is the most severe charge a person can receive for a DUI in Minnesota. Being convicted of a first-degree DUI is a felony, which negatively impacts every aspect of your life, from finding a job or housing to getting a loan. Not to mention, Minnesota law states that you can be on the hook for seven years in prison and up to $14,000 in fines. There are a few different ways a person can be convicted of a first-degree DUI:
- The driver has been arrested for drunk driving four times in the last decade
- The driver has received another felony DUI charge in their lifetime
- The driver has been convicted of other criminal charges in their lifetime that are drug or alcohol-related
In Minnesota, the result of a second-degree DUI charge is a gross misdemeanor. While this is less severe than a felony, it cannot be expunged from your record for at least four years after the incident. A gross misdemeanor can still negatively affect your ability to get a job, housing, and loans while it remains on your record. According to Minnesota state law, a second-degree charge can mean up to one year in prison and $3,000 in fines. A person can be convicted if there are two or more aggravating factors involved in the current offense, such as:
- BAC of .16 or more
- A minor is in the vehicle
- A prior DUI in the last decade
Like a second-degree charge, a third-degree also results in a gross misdemeanor on the driver’s record and will still negatively impact their life. Minnesota Statute 169A.26 states that third-degree DUI penalties are the same as the second-degree; up to one year in prison and a $3,000 fine. A driver earns a third-degree conviction if:
- They’ve been charged with refusing tests
- There is at least one aggravating factor attached to the current offense (see second-degree charge for aggravating offenses)
In the state of Minnesota, a fourth-degree charge stamps a misdemeanor on the driver’s record. A misdemeanor charge can negatively affect your life the same as a gross misdemeanor charge. Minnesota state law says that fourth-degree DUI charges result in up to ninety days in jail and a $1,000 fine. A person can be convicted of a fourth-degree DUI if:
- They were driving under the influence
- No other aggravating factors are involved
MN DUI: What to Expect
If you’ve been convicted of a first offense DUI in Minnesota, you’re probably trying to figure out what will happen and how this will impact your life. If you’re wondering how much a DUI in Minnesota costs, that depends entirely on your conviction and your lawyer. Unfortunately, there is no straight answer to that question. No matter what degree DUI you’re charged with, it will change your life for the worse in many ways.
- Public Shame: When you’re arrested for a DUI, your mugshot is taken and will forever be very easy to find on the internet (for your friends, family, and potential employers).
- Revoked Drivers License: A DUI conviction results in a suspended driver’s license. Some people can get a breath alcohol ignition locking device installed in their vehicle, but this comes with increased fees.
- DUI expenses: A DUI is expensive. Not only is there a fine that varies depending on the level of offense, but you may also need to pay for bail, impound costs, license reinstatement fees, and more.
- Increased Insurance Costs: A DUI charge is sure to cause much higher insurance premiums and your provider might even drop you altogether because you’ve been labeled ‘high risk.’ It can take years for your prices to drop.
- Child Custody and Travel Restrictions: If you’re going through a custody battle, a DUI charge may cause a judge to deem you an unfit parent. A DUI conviction also puts severe limitations on where you can travel while you’re on probation.
- Financing Limitations: In addition to car insurance companies, most other important financial institutions review your criminal and credit histories before issuing loans, financing, and credit cards.
- School and Work Limitations: Whether you’re going to work or school, DUI makes it much more difficult for you to get where you need to be exactly when you need to be there because you don’t have your own reliable transportation.
How to Navigate Your First DUI
Navigating your first DUI can be difficult and scary. You don’t know what to expect or how drawn out the process can become. To help you understand how to manage your first DUI, here is an outline of the process from the initial traffic stop to trial and sentencing.
- Traffic stop – You’ve been pulled over and are suspected of drunk driving.
- Field sobriety tests – The officer will ask you to perform a series of tests like walk-and-turn, one-leg stand, and others.
- Preliminary alcohol screening – You’ll be asked to take a breathalyzer test.
- Questioning by police – A police officer will read you your Miranda rights and ask you questions.
- Booking and release – You’ll either be booked into the system and released or booked into custody. If you’re taken into custody, you must remain there until your bail hearing.
- Arraignment and pre-trial meeting – After booking, you’ll be given an arraignment date where you will find out if your case will go to trial.
- Trial and sentencing – If your case goes to trial, you’ll be tried before a judge to determine your sentencing.
Hiring The Right Attorney
Hiring the right attorney to handle your DUI can make all the difference. If you’ve been charged with a DUI, you’ve got to hire an attorney that specializes in DUI cases. What can a DUI attorney do for you?
- Gather the right information and evidence
- Provide professional representation and support
- Help you correctly complete and submit the right paperwork
- They’re updated on current DUI laws and charges
A DUI attorney is recommended after any DUI arrest. The sooner you contact an attorney, the sooner you can tell your story with the details fresh in your mind. Once you’ve been booked, you should call a local DUI attorney for free legal advice. They can protect your license from suspension and protect you from conviction when possible. Our experienced criminal law attorneys at Cline Jensen, PLLC, will fight on your behalf. Don’t miss out on an opportunity for an attorney to minimize the damage of your run-in with the law. At Cline Jensen, PLLC, we understand that bad things happen to good people all the time. It is our mission to help good people.Read More
Like many states throughout the country, Minnesota has varying DWI degrees for those arrested for being under the influence of alcohol or different controlled substances while operating a motor vehicle. Anyone can be charged for a DWI when they least expect it, and it’s often life-changing, even if it’s your first offense. Suppose you’ve recently been arrested for a DWI. In that case, it’s time to seek guidance from an experienced criminal law attorney so you can be adequately represented and get the best possible outcome.
What Is a DWI?
Depending on the state you reside in, the acronyms DUI or DWI may or may not be familiar. In many locations, there is a distinct difference between the two; however, like the state of Minnesota, in some areas, they are used interchangeably. The acronym DWI is an abbreviation for “Driving While Intoxicated,” while the acronym DUI is an abbreviation for “Driving Under the Influence.” If you find yourself being charged with a DUI, a specific alcohol level isn’t required. Instead, the prosecuting official is required to prove that the driver is impaired because of alcohol. If you find yourself being charged with a DWI, the prosecuting official must prove that the driver is impaired because of alcohol or another controlled substance while operating a vehicle. You can be charged with a DWI in the state of Minnesota if one or more of the following guidelines are met:
- Driving, operating, or being in control of any motor vehicle while under the influence of an alcoholic, hazardous, or controlled substance
- Blood alcohol (BCA) level reading over the legal limit (.08) with a breath, urine, or blood test for up to two hours following being stopped by law enforcement
- Any amount of controlled substances being found in the driver’s system
How Can a DWI Affect You?
Getting charged with a DWI is life-changing and will likely affect areas of your life you didn’t even know it could. It’s crucial to become familiar with the various degrees of DWI charges, possible penalties, and how life will change in the short and long-term. Not only will those you love and include in your social group learn of your DWI charge, but potential employers and other keynote individuals may also be informed. Each DWI case is different as a situation is rarely identical to another, but those charged with a first-time DWI are likely to spend up to $10,000 on required expenses. Some expenses include DWI education programs, probation fees, impound costs, and more. A few examples of areas in your life that will be impacted by a DWI charge are as follows:
- Public Humiliation
- Revoked Driving Privileges
- Depleted Savings
- Skyrocketed Car Insurance
- Impacted Child Custody
- Inconvenient Travel Restrictions
- Financing Limitations
- Hindered Employment and School Opportunities
Driving While Impaired in Minnesota
DWI charges and penalties vary throughout the United States depending on individual state laws and your offense’s severity. In Minnesota, there are four charges those driving while impaired can receive, ranging from a felony and gross misdemeanor to a misdemeanor. Below you’ll find an outline of the state of Minnesota’s driving while impaired charges along with the penalties one may receive.
First-Degree Driving While Impaired
A first-degree driving while impaired charge is considered a felony in the state of Minnesota. If you’ve received four DWI charges within the past ten years or have previously received a felony DWI charge, you can be charged under the first-degree. Those charged with first-degree driving while impaired are subject to penalties of up to seven years in prison and fines of up to $14,000. (MN Stat § 169A.24)
Second-Degree Driving While Impaired
A second-degree driving while impaired charge is considered a gross misdemeanor in the state of Minnesota. If you have a previous DWI charge within the past ten years, the current offense includes two or more aggravating factors, or a minor is in your vehicle, you can be charged under the second-degree. Those charged with second-degree driving while impaired are subject to penalties of up to one year in prison and fines of up to $3,000. (MN Stat § 169A.25)
Third-Degree Driving While Impaired
A third-degree driving while impaired charge is also considered a gross misdemeanor in the state of Minnesota. If you have been charged with a test refusal or the current offense includes one or more aggravating factors, you can be charged under the third-degree. Those charged with third-degree driving while impaired are subject to penalties of up to one year in prison, fines of up to $3,000, and an allotted mandatory jail sentence of the judge’s discretion. (MN Stat § 169A.26)
Fourth-Degree Driving While Impaired
A fourth-degree driving while impaired charge is considered a misdemeanor in the state of Minnesota. If the current offense includes no aggravating factors, you can be charged under the fourth-degree. Those charged with fourth-degree driving while impaired are subject to up to 90 days in prison and fines of up to $1,000. (MN Stat § 169A.27)
How Can an Attorney Help You?
DWI law is often complicated to navigate and is continuously changing. While you are entitled to represent yourself in a DWI trial, it can be very challenging for someone with limited legal experience to assess a DWI case’s strengths and weaknesses and adequately represent themselves. Because of the complexity of DWI cases, those charged with a DWI offense need to be represented correctly, so the best possible outcome can be achieved.
Many experienced attorneys offer free consultations to prospective clients, so you can have your police report and other essential case documents reviewed and receive guidance on your case. It’s suggested to have questions prepared for your attorney as this will help you further understand your situation. If you’ve been charged with a DWI, getting assistance from an attorney experienced in these matters will be extremely beneficial. They will be able to locate weaknesses in the prosecution’s case and bring any mitigating factors to the prosecutor’s attention.
Becoming familiar with Minnesota’s DWI degrees and the possible penalties is extremely important, especially if you’ve recently been arrested and are facing charges. While the life you know will be impacted and change drastically, there is an end in sight if you have assistance from an experienced criminal law attorney. If you’ve discovered your case is going to trial, it’s time to seek legal guidance immediately.Read More
Being arrested for a DUI can happen when you least expect it and is often nerve-racking. If you find yourself in this situation, likely, you’re not sure what’s going to happen or what the next steps are. Becoming familiar with the process of a first-offense DUI arrest and how life can change will help you prepare and accept what’s to come.
What Is a DUI?
The acronyms DUI and DWI are known by drivers across the United States, and in certain instances, there is a difference between the two. DWI means “Driving While Intoxicated” and DUI means “Driving Under the Influence.” But how do these charges differ from one another? A DUI doesn’t always mean a specific alcohol level must be met; a prosecutor is only required to prove that the driver was impaired due to alcohol, unlike a DWI. In the state of Minnesota, these two terms are commonly utilized interchangeably because navigating both charges separately placed an unwanted burden on the state to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. An individual can be charged with a DWI or DUI in Minnesota if the following factors are met:
- Operating or being in control of an automobile while under the influence of alcohol or a hazardous or controlled substance
- Alcohol concentration appearing over the legal limit (.08) through a breath, blood, or urine test within two hours of being stopped by law enforcement
- Discovery of any amount of specific controlled substances in the system
Keep in mind; each state follows different DWI or DUI offense guidelines, meaning the severity of the charges and factors leading up to can vary. In Minnesota, there are four different degree charges for driving under the influence. (MN Stat § 169A) Regardless, if you’ve found yourself being charged with a DUI, it’s time to choose a quality DUI attorney.
Getting charged with a DUI not only impacts your life, but it can also be humiliating and affect your social circle. Your mugshot will be taken during booking and processing in the county jail after you’ve been arrested. Unfortunately, this information is easily accessible to online users for years to come, meaning it can be extremely detrimental to your social and professional reputation. Many both inside and outside your social circle will likely discover your DUI charge before you even have time to process it, which can result in becoming an outcast.
Every DUI case is different, but it’s most common for individuals to lose their driving privileges, from a few days or months to over a year. During this time frame, you will be prohibited from operating any motor vehicle, meaning you’ll have to rely on another individual or alternative modes of transportation to complete daily tasks such as going to work or grocery shopping. Alternative transportation methods can include utilizing the city bus system, taxis, or a ride service like Lyft or Uber. If your job requires regular travel, getting a DUI will hinder these privileges as renting a car will no longer be an option.
States across the country have also started requiring DUI offenders to install breath alcohol ignition locking devices in their vehicles, mostly if driving privileges are restored after a short time. These devices connect to your car’s ignition and require the user to complete a test before the vehicle can be utilized. Should the device detect a blood alcohol level above the programmed limit, your car will not start and vice versa. DUI offenders that have been ordered to utilize a breath alcohol ignition locking device are typically required to pay an installment fee along with a monthly payment that can range from $50 to $100 a month.
Diminished Personal Funds
Navigating a DUI charge is extremely costly, which means your savings and personal funds will be substantially diminished. The average cost of a first-time DUI offense in Minnesota can reach upwards of $10,000. The different expenses individuals get charged with a DUI are expected to fund can include, but are not limited to:
- Car Towing
- Impound costs
- Court and Legal Fees
- DUI Education Programs
- Increased Insurance Premiums
- Probation Fees
- Drug and Alcohol Assessment
- Drug and Alcohol Counseling
- License Reinstatement Fees
Higher Auto Insurance Rates
When you get charged with a DUI, the conviction becomes a part of your permanent record. Auto insurance companies review your record before approving new and extending current coverage. It’s likely that you already have auto insurance. In some cases, your current provider may decide to drop your coverage altogether depending on your driving offense’s severity and how much danger you pose as a driver. Having a DUI charge on your record automatically categorizes you as a “high-risk” driver, meaning your current provider will increase your premium, and new auto insurance companies will require you to purchase “high-risk” insurance. It will take years before you have access to competitive rates, and the current rates may be difficult to afford, which could mean you will be unable to drive for the foreseeable future.
Child Custody and Travel Restrictions
If you’re currently involved in a divorce case that includes children and child custody, having a DUI charge can be detrimental to your case’s outcome. Having a DUI on your record may impact the judge’s decision for granting you child custody as this may display a drinking problem and be a red flag as to whether you’re a responsible, fit parent.
After being charged with a DUI, you will also be placed on probation, which puts extreme limitations on travel. A probation officer will be assigned, and you must ask for permission to travel outside your residing county. Additionally, travel restrictions also remain once you’re off supervision, which can impact the locations in which you travel. Foreign countries like Canada prohibit admittance even for a first-offense misdemeanor, resulting in detaining and deportation.
Trouble Obtaining Financing
It’s not just your auto insurance company that reviews your criminal record – many lenders review criminal records and credit reports before deciding to provide financing. If you’ve been hoping to obtain a mortgage, car loan, or even a credit card, getting charged with a DUI can drastically affect your likelihood. A DUI conviction is costly, and many creditors consider those with DUI charges of greater risk meaning your application could be denied, or you’ll have access to less competitive terms.
School and Work Limitations
Perhaps you’re a student, have an established career, or both – no matter where you’re at, you should be concerned about schooling and employment after receiving a DUI. While you may be happy with where you’re at, and your employer displays no signs of wanting to replace you, scholarships and promotions may be out of the question. Additionally, given that a DUI affects your means of transportation, overall attendance for both school and work may be impacted, which could result in termination or expulsion. If you lose your job or placement in a school, finding future employment or admission acceptance can be difficult as your criminal record is reviewed in both instances.
Hire an Experienced DUI Attorney Today
If you’ve recently been arrested for a DUI, it’s recommended to hire a criminal law attorney experienced in DUI charges. Many qualities make up a reliable lawyer; however, you must choose an individual familiar with your residing state’s DUI guidelines and offenses as this will ensure you’re adequately represented in court. Getting a DUI will drastically impact your life, but it doesn’t have to change it altogether – seek guidance from an experienced attorney today so you can continue life as usual.Read More
Were you out with friends having a few drinks and felt okay to drive home? Getting pulled over for a DUI can happen at the drop of a hat, especially if you have knowingly had a few alcoholic beverages and decide to drive your car. Finding yourself in this situation can be incredibly overwhelming, and you are likely to regret your decision. Each state’s guidelines vary in how a DUI arrest is completed, what jail time looks like, and possible sentencing an offender can receive. If you have been arrested for a DUI, it’s time to hire an experienced criminal law attorney so you can be defended efficiently.
It All Starts With a Traffic Stop
Getting pulled over can happen when we least expect it, and it can be even more nerve-racking when you know you have had a few drinks. Immediately following a traffic stop, the officer that pulls you over begins to make observations that are included in your police report. A key detail that many do not think of is how you pull over. Likely, the officer that pulled you over has noted a driving infraction as this is needed to initiate the stop. This can include pulling over erratically, slowing down too abruptly, or pulling over in an unsafe location. Any of these actions will be noted in your police report.
The officer will approach your driver’s side window to ask for license and registration. While you retrieve these items, you will be observed for any impairment signs like fumbling or a slow reaction time. It is vital that you remain polite and do not make any sudden or suspicious movements. Suppose the driver does not comply with the officer’s request, the likelihood of being charged with resisting arrest increases. The officer will be observing you for slurred speech, bloodshot or watery eyes, and the smell of alcohol. If you present any of these signs, you will likely be asked if you have had anything to drink.
During this conversation, the officer will document everything you say. The officer will ask when you consumed your last drink, how much you drank, and what type of alcohol you consumed. Once it has been confirmed that you have been drinking, you will be asked to step out of your vehicle. While you are required to provide license and registration information when requested, you have the right to refuse to answer questions regarding your sobriety. It is strongly recommended to avoid incriminating yourself as you may be able to avoid spending time in jail, and instead, be penalized with an arrest and license suspension.
Completing Roadside Sobriety Tests
Once you exit your vehicle, the officer has suspicion and confirmation that you have been drinking and may be over the legal limit. You will be asked to participate in various roadside sobriety tests to verify your level of intoxication further and confirm that you are in a state that is not safe to drive.
Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs)
The officer will ask you to participate in a series of physical field sobriety tests. This helps them collect evidence against you in the form of subjective observation to determine whether you are intoxicated.
- Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN): If you are under the influence of alcohol or another drug, exaggerated involuntary jerking of your eyes will occur. The officer will observe how your eyes gaze from side to side by testing your ability to follow a moving object slowly, observing distinct eye jerking at maximum deviation and 45 degrees of center.
- Walk-and-Turn (WAT): The officer will ask you to take nine heel-to-toe steps along a straight line, turn on one foot, and complete the same movement in the opposite direction. This test measures your ability to complete a series of tasks with divided attention.
- One-Leg Stand (OLS): During your field sobriety tests, the officer will ask you to raise one foot six inches off the ground and remain standing on one leg for 30 seconds. If the officer notices any swaying, balancing with arms, hopping, or putting the foot down before the allotted time is reached, this is likely an indicator of possible impairment.
Keep in mind; these are not the only field sobriety tests you may be asked to participate in as there are many more non-standardized field sobriety tests officers can utilize.
Preliminary Alcohol Screening Tests (PAS)
You have likely heard of a breathalyzer before, a handheld instrument that the officer will utilize to measure your breath alcohol concentration (BAC). While test results can be unreliable at times, a breathalyzer is an easy tool for officers to assess if there’s probable cause for a DUI arrest. You must be aware you are not required to participate in a field sobriety or PAS test; however, you will be arrested and taken to the police station for questioning upon refusal.
Participating in Questioning at the Station
Upon arriving at the police station, a police officer will read you your Miranda rights before being asked to participate in further questioning. It is encouraged only to provide your name and address and decline other communications until you can choose and have support from an experienced criminal law attorney. You will be asked to take a breathalyzer test, which is a requirement, and refusal is not an option. You may be asked to submit a blood or urine sample for further testing, but you have the right to decline this. Breathalyzers are less likely to provide a reliable test result, so it is encouraged to take this test rather than any other as it may help your attorney present a case in your defense.
Booking & Release
After you have completed station questioning and additional testing, you will either be released the same day or booked into custody. If the office decides to book you into custody or you are arrested over a weekend, you will remain in jail until your bail hearing. Suppose you are already working with a defense attorney. In that case, there is an opportunity to convince the judge to set weekend bail for special circumstances such as work or children at home alone. In Minnesota, there are two different bail amounts a judge is required to set: conditional and unconditional.
- Conditional: Upon being released from jail, you will be required to meet certain conditions, which can include wearing an ankle bracelet or making a promise to quit consuming alcohol or other drugs.
- Unconditional: No rules need to be followed before the scheduled court date for your DUI offense. The judge usually sets a much higher unconditional bail than conditional bail.
Once your bail hearing is complete, you will be required to remain in jail until you are released or someone bails you out. At times, a judge may decide to release you on your own recognizance, which requires you to remain law-abiding and in contact with your attorney until further notice. This is a common occurrence for first-time offenders or if you have a clean criminal record.
While a lot is going on and this process can often be overwhelming, it is recommended to take as many notes as possible of the chain of events. This will provide your defense attorney with a real-time recollection of the occurrence and is beneficial in your case’s defense and success.
Arraignment & Pre-Trial Meeting
After booking is complete, you will be given a date for your arraignment by the court. An arraignment is the initial hearing following your arrest where you will be read your charges and ask for your plea. The plea you submit will either result in sentencing or your case going to trial. If you have already hired a defense attorney, it is likely you will not have to attend the arraignment as they will represent you accordingly.
If you and your defense attorney decide to submit a plea of not guilty, a pre-trial meeting will be scheduled. This usually occurs around the six-week mark following your arraignment and consists of your defense attorney meeting with the prosecutor to complete the following:
- File pre-trial motions
- Ask the prosecution for evidence
- Negotiate possible settlements
In the circumstance that no settlement is reached, your case will then go to trial at a later date.
At times, your defense attorney may believe select evidence against you can or should be suppressed. If this occurs, a suppression or Omnibus hearing will be requested. During this hearing, your defense attorney will attempt to convince the court to suppress any evidence against you that was gathered in violation of your rights.
Trial & Sentencing
If your case goes to trial, you and your defense attorney will decide whether you will be tried before a jury or judge. Regardless of what you choose, it will likely last one to two days. Your defense attorney will develop an effective defense strategy, so you are represented effectively and have a high chance of incurring the least amount of penalties. Below are Minnesota’s sentencing guidelines for DUI charges:
- First Degree: Under Minnesota law, this is considered a felony charge and can occur if this is your fourth DUI violation within the past ten years or if you have previously been charged with a felony DUI. Penalties can consist of up to seven years in prison and up to $14,000 in fines. (MN Stat § 169A.24)
- Second Degree: Under Minnesota law, this is considered a gross misdemeanor and can occur if the current offense includes two or more aggravating factors or if you have been charged with refusal, have another DUI violation within the past ten years, or have a minor in your vehicle. Penalties can consist of up to one year in prison and up to $3,000 in fines. (MN Stat § 169A.25)
- Third Degree: Under Minnesota law, this is also considered a gross misdemeanor and can occur if the current offense includes one aggravating factor or you are charged with a test refusal. Penalties can consist of up to one year in prison, up to $3,000 in fines, and a possible mandatory minimum jail sentence. (MN Stat § 169A.26)
- Fourth Degree: Under Minnesota law, this is considered a misdemeanor and can occur if the current offense includes no aggravating factors. Penalties can consist of up to 90 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. (MN Stat § 169A.27)
Hire an Experienced DUI Defense Attorney Today
If you have been arrested for a DUI offense, it is recommended to seek legal guidance immediately. While the process of receiving a DUI charge can be overwhelming and often time-consuming, finding an experienced DUI defense attorney is vital, so you are represented effectively. Reviewing past client testimonials and researching popular attorneys in your area will help you choose the best defense attorney for your unique case. A DUI charge does not have to change your life forever – especially if an expert represents you.Read More
Getting charged with a DUI can be unsettling, and you’ve likely thought it would never happen to you. To navigate the process correctly and ensure all requirements are met, you must come to terms with the circumstances, consequences, and chain of events. You must be honest and hold nothing back, as this will ensure your case gets the most accurate assessment possible.
Whether you have already selected a DUI or criminal defense attorney or are in the process, it’s essential that you provide all the details of your case, provide all accessible paperwork, and be prepared to answer questions. Familiarizing yourself with basic terminology will also help, so you can have effective conversations with the DUI attorney you choose.
In every state, individuals have the right to represent themselves. As tempting as this may be, it’s usually not the best idea. If your case ends up going to trial, the preparation requires a steep learning curve, meaning your lack of legal knowledge and skills can be detrimental to your case’s outcome. Additionally, judges tend to be impatient with defendants who choose to represent themselves as court rules and etiquette are commonly unknown.
Tips for Selection
Hiring an attorney in any scenario means you are hiring an individual to represent your interests. This means it’s incredibly important to find an attorney that fits well with your personality and goals. In the past, hiring an experienced attorney was usually completed by word of mouth, but today there is a variety of online and print resources available to guide you in finding an attorney perfect for your case. To ensure you’re represented correctly in your DUI case, the first step to hiring an experienced DUI attorney begins with understanding each of your candidates’ qualifications.
How Important Is It Hiring an Attorney That Specializes in DUI Cases?
After being charged with a DUI, it’s essential that you hire a DUI or criminal defense attorney who specializes in DUI-related cases. Many general practice attorneys work in multiple law areas, meaning they might not always be up to date on current effective DUI defenses. It’s encouraged to search locally for your DUI attorney as these individuals are familiar with your state’s laws and usually offer affordable payment plans for legal fees. Hiring a top-rated DUI attorney can be costly, especially when you likely didn’t expect the events to happen in the first place.
Why Should I Hire a DUI Attorney, and How Can They Help?
Getting a DUI can be life-changing and usually comes with a lot of long-term consequences, even if it’s your first offense. Many individuals that receive a DUI charge are unaware of the impact it will have on their lives. An experienced DUI attorney will be prepared to find the best defense options for your case right from the start and keep you updated every step of the way, so you know if charges are reduced, or a full dismissal is reached. An experienced DUI attorney will do the following:
- Help you gather all necessary information and evidence
- Provide you with expert representation and support
- Guide you in completing and submitting necessary paperwork
- Stay up to date with current state DUI laws and charges
When Should You Get an Attorney for a DUI Case?
It’s recommended to begin searching for a DUI attorney immediately after a DUI arrest occurs. After getting booked, you should contact or call an experienced DUI attorney local to your area so you can get free professional legal advice. This is vital as it may affect the level of consequences you receive, and DUI charges have stringent timelines, making it crucial that you begin getting guidance right away. Certain motions need to be filed by a specific time and date, and if not, an automatic suspension of your license can occur. Additionally, contacting a DUI attorney sooner rather than later will ensure that the incident’s critical details are recollected in full truth.
Interview Multiple Attorneys
It’s recommended to interview multiple DUI attorneys, so you can be sure you’ve found the best one for your unique case. After hearing from the first candidate, individuals charged with a DUI are usually awestruck at the process and the potential life consequences. Discussing your case with multiple attorneys will help you learn about a DUI’s legalities and allow you to differentiate an experienced DUI attorney from one that isn’t as skilled. The more you survey your pool of candidates, the more likely it is you will find the best DUI attorney to help you win your case.
Consider Each Candidate’s DUI Expertise
Each of the candidates you consider should specialize or have extensive experience in working with DUI charges. You must review your candidate’s experience working with DUI charges and past client experiences. The value of having an experienced and successful DUI attorney is life-changing. Many believe that a DUI charge will never go to trial, but unfortunately, each case is unique in the chain of events, and a skilled DUI attorney will be prepared to take every necessary action possible to reach the best outcome for you.
Explore how many cases your candidates have successfully won, read past clients testimonials, and review their courtroom skills. Learning what past clients thought of their experience will give you an idea of how much a candidate is invested in their clients and if you think they’ll fit well with your personality and case. It’s also beneficial to get an idea of your candidate’s relationship with prosecutors as a good relationship with the court displays professionalism and respect for the adversarial system of law. If an attorney has a lousy standing with local prosecutors and police, you could be prejudiced against and receive poor legal tactics in your defense.
How About the Firm Size?
Understanding each of your candidates’ firm size is vital as this will help give you an idea of how intimate of an experience you’re going to receive. In perspective, a small firm that takes on fewer cases will offer you more direct interaction, while a large firm with more cases may have more time but will likely have legal aides and clerks work on portions of your case. It’s best to base a decision on your judgment, comforts, and level of attention you’re hoping for. You want an attorney that’s invested in helping you reach the best possible outcome.
Be Prepared for Your Consultation
Many attorneys offer potential clients consultations free of charge, and it’s essential to use these to your advantage. This is the perfect opportunity for you to get an idea of an attorney’s intent and what they’re really interested in: you or getting another case under their belt. Upon scheduling consultations, it’s recommended that you come prepared with a variety of essential questions, so you can measure each candidate’s communication skills and level of knowledge. An experienced DUI attorney should be easily understandable and clear. If not, it’s time to start considering your next option.
Know Your Legal Costs Upfront
An experienced and highly recommended DUI attorney should outline your costs throughout the entire process, so you’re not left with any surprise fees after your case. For every candidate, you must ask to have all attorney fees in writing with an explanation of each charge. This will ensure that the attorney you decide to move forward with is affordable and fits your budget. Hiring a DUI attorney is much cheaper than conviction, but staying within your budget will eliminate the potential for financial issues down the road.
Make Your Decision Based on Comfort and Confidence
You’ll likely be considering many different candidates, but participating in consultations and interviews will help you narrow your list quickly. Ultimately, choosing the best DUI or criminal defense attorney for your unique case comes down to their confidence in your case and your overall comfort with them. You want an attorney that is confident in the outcome of your case as well as someone that you feel comfortable with and can put trust in. You and your attorney will work as a team for the duration of your case, so establishing a strong relationship from the get-go is vital.
Once you have your list narrowed down, it’s time to decide on what DUI attorney you’ll choose for your case. It’s vital that you don’t rush the decision-making process, as the consequences of a DUI charge can be life changing, especially if you’re not represented correctly. Tell any attorney that you’re interested in selecting that you need time to think it over and that you’ll be in contact. This will allow you to gauge their overall intent as any attorney that rushes a decision is not giving enough consideration to your needs. A DUI charge doesn’t mean your life is forever changed – hire an experienced DUI attorney today, so you can get the results you deserve.Read More