DUI/Criminal Defense

/DUI/Criminal Defense
DUI/Criminal Defense 2018-05-10T05:32:11+00:00

Just because you have been charged with the offense of Driving Under the Influence (DUI), that doesn’t make you a bad person.  In fact, in 2016, over 25,000 motorists were charged with a DUI offense.  The shock and intimidation of being arrested for Minnesota DUI or another crime is unimaginable. Nothing compares to the threat of having your freedom, job, and personal relationships taken away from you. Your life is too valuable – do not risk losing your independence and reputation.

One of the most important things you can do after being arrested for a DUIin Minnesota is to find out as much information as possible about your legal rights and options. It is also critical to find an aggressive defense lawyer who is trustworthy, tenacious, and understands the law, you, and your specific situation.

If you are facing the offense of DUI, it’s important that you find an experienced DUI attorney to help you begin building your DUI defense. The advice and actions of an experienced DUI attorney like Brodin Legal can make a world of difference in the outcome of your case.

Below are some key facts any person charged with a DUI ought to know:

DUI Defined

It is a crime for any person to drive, operate, or be in physical control of any motor vehicle if they are under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance. When a person does this they are guilty of Driving Under the Influence also known as DUI.

Two Parts of a DUI

Typically a DUI is comprised of two parts:

  1. The criminal portion
  2. The civil portion

As a result, when you are charged with a DUI you must be prepared to take on two separate cases. The cases involve different courts, judges and prosecutors; separate legal issues and can result in different consequences or penalties.

The Civil Case

The Civil case, or the Implied Consent proceeding, arises out of the Minnesota Implied Consent Law. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) can take actions against a person’s driver’s license, license plates and possibly the vehicle involved in a DUI offense. These takings by the DPS trigger a separate civil suit against the Defendant in a DUI case. Possible Civil consequences may include:

  • Driver’s license revocation;
  • Driver’s license cancellation;
  • License plate impoundment;
  • Mandatory ignition interlock;
  • Vehicle forfeiture; and/or
  • Driver’s license record affected (leading to high risk insurance).

The Criminal Case

The criminal case involves the criminal charge of driving while impaired. This includes the stop, arrest, evidence collected against you and whether your Constitutional rights were preserved. The possible criminal consequences may include: jail, fines, permanent criminal record, probation or parole, mandatory chemical evaluations, chemical dependency programs (such as MADD or other victims impact panels, , AA, etc.), court ordered abstention from drugs or alcohol and/or random urine/breath tests just to name a few.

The Stop

When an officer pulls someone over they must have a valid reason to stop the person. Reasons can include anything from speeding to swerving over the center line.

Once the officer pulls someone over, they must then have a valid reason to expand to stop for purposes of a DUI.  Reasons can include anything from an admission of having consumed alcohol to the officer smelling an odor of alcohol coming from the alleged offender. If the officer does not have a specific reason to expand the stop, then there is no legitimate basis for them to charge a person with any crime other than the original traffic offense they were originally stopped for.

If the officer suspects you may be intoxicated, they may ask you to submit to any number of roadside or field sobriety tests.  It is important to note that you are NOT REQUIRED by law to take any of these tests.  If you are driving under the influence, these tests will only further establish that fact.

If you fail a roadside or field sobriety test, the officer will likely ask you to submit to a preliminary breath test (PBT).  If the result of the PBT is close to or above the legal blood alcohol level level of 0.08% the officer may elect to arrest the driver. However, this result is normally not admissible in court. Additionally, much like the roadside and field sobriety tests, taking the PBT test is NOT REQUIRED by law.  That being said, if the officer has a valid reason to believe you are driving under the influence and you refuse to take the PBT, you will likely be arrested.

Tips For What To Do When You Are Stopped For Suspicion of DUI

When an officer has pulled you over it is always important to present the him or her with your license and insurance. It is also important to remain respectful.  However, you can legally inform the officer that you decline to answer any alcohol related questions without first consulting an attorney.

If you have been drinking and an officer has pulled you over and asks you to perform field sobriety tests, respectfully decline any of them.  Again, they are typically not admissible in court and will likely only hurt you in future court proceedings.

Arrest and Booking

If an officer has probable cause for a DUI arrest, they will usually arrest the driver and take them to the closest police station. Once the individual has been taken to the station, the police are required to read them an Implied Consent Warning advising them they have the right to an attorney and that refusal to take a test is an additional crime.  If the driver elects to consult with an attorney, the officer must supply them with  a phone and a phone book.

Officers have three tests which they may elect to administer: (1) A Breath Test; (2) A Blood Test; and (3) A Urine Test.  Unlike the roadside or PBT test, these tests are mandatory and it is a crime to refuse to submit to any of them.

After you submit to a test it is up to the officer whether or not you are released to a sober party.  The officer can hold you without charge for 36 hours, but that does not mean that you will be held for that period. If the intention of the officer is to hold you for the full 36 hours the only way to get out in advance of the “PC hold” time is to have a judge set bail and then to post that bail.

Types of DUI’s

In Minnesota, DUI cases are based on the degree/number of previous convictions as follows:

  1. 4th Degree DUI: A fourth degree DUIis a misdemeanor offense. A first time offender with no prior alcohol related offenses within the last 10 years and who tested less than .20 will be charged with a fourth degree DUI.
  2. 3rd Degree DUI: A third degree DUI is a gross misdemeanor offense. Typically, it involves a DUI charge and one of the following aggravating factors: The presence of a child in the vehicle, a BAC of .16 or greater, or a prior alcohol related offense within the last 10 years can lead to a 3rd Degree DUI charge.
  3. 2nd Degree DUI: A second degree DUI is a gross misdemeanor offense. Typically, it involves a DUI charge and two or more of the following aggravating factors: The presence of a child in the vehicle, a BAC of .16 or greater, or a prior alcohol related offense within the last 10 years can lead to a 3rd Degree DUI charge.
  4. 1st Degree DUI: A first degree DUI is a felony offense. Typically, this involves 3 or more alcohol-related incidents within the past 10 years.

The Charge Of A DUI

There are a number of things the state may charge you with coinciding with a DUI, including but not limited to:

  1. Driving Under the Influence  (DUI);
  2. Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over .08%;
  3. Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) over .08% within 2 hours of driving; or
  4. Refusal to Submit to Testing.

However, a person can only be convicted of one of the above DUI-related offenses and all the others must be dismissed at the time of sentencing.

Setting Bail

Most individual’s immediate concern upon being arrested and booked for a DWI is how long they must remain in custody.  If the person is not released on their own recognizance, the first step is to set a bailing hearing.  In Minnesota, a defendant has the right to a bail hearing within 36 hours of the arrest, not including the day of the arrest, Sundays or holidays.  Usually, this means a person arrested on a weekend will not be released until a Monday.

Bail is money provided to the Court as a promise to appear in Court, whether the individual was recently arrested or has an active warrant.  In lieu of posting bail (cash), an individual may choose to go through a bonding agency.  Bond is money or property secured as a promise to appear in Court. If the defendant violates any conditions of release or does not make a future court appearance all of the bail will be forfeited to the Court.

Depending on the severity of the charge bail can be extremely expensive and impossible for a defendant to pay. For a percentage of the overall bail, normally around 10%, a bail bondsman will post bail in the form of a bond so a person can get out of custody pending their hearings.

After a bond has been posted, the process of actually being released can take anywhere from a few minutes to multiple hours depending on the facilities procedures, the point in the booking process the defendant was at previously and whether the bond was posted during a lockdown time.

DUI After Release

There are two main questions drivers have after being charged and released on suspicion of DUI; (1) How am I going to be able to drive during the legal process and (2) what do I need to do to regain my driving privileges?

Limited License:  In some instances, a person whose driver’s license has been revoked for either a DUI or implied consent violation may apply for a limited license to drive:

  • To and from work or to apply for a job;
  • To and from chemical dependency treatment programs;
  • To provide for medical, educational, or nutritional needs of the family; and/or
  • For attendance to a post secondary educational institute.

Ignition Interlock:  The Ignition Interlock Program requires that certain drivers install a device in their vehicles which measures and reports their alcohol concentration level each time they start the vehicle and while operating the vehicle.  The program allows offenders to regain their driving privileges while their regular licenses are revoked.  Generally, a driver who has had his driving privileges revoked may choose to enroll in the program.  Time may be extended for any violations noted while a person is enrolled in the program.

License Plate Impoundment

In certain instances, the state has the authority to take the license plate off a motor vehicle and destroy them. This is commonly referred to as license plate impoundment.  However, the state only has the authority to impound a Minnesota state license plate.

The arresting officer will issue a one week temporary permit along with the license plate impoundment order.  The temporary permit is valid for 7 days if the vehicle was registered to the driver and 45 days if it was registered to someone else.

The impoundment order will generally require the person who received the order to surrender the plates from any other registered vehicle with his name on the title.  After the week-long permit expires, the vehicle will be required to have special plates in order to be driven during the one year impoundment period.   These special plates are commonly referred to as “Whisky Plates.”

Why An Attorney Is Essential

Anytime someone has been charged with the crime of DUI it is essential that they retain knowledgeable and experienced attorney. The advice and actions of an attorney like Jake Brodin  can go a long way to ensuring that your rights are enforced and you obtain the best possible outcome in your respective case.

The initial consultation is free, so there is nothing to risk and so much to gain.