Flashing red and blue lights in your rear view mirror is an adrenaline-pumping, white-knuckle experience for any driver. Now imagine that you know you have had a few too many drinks just before getting behind the wheel.
A few moments ago you were certain you just had a few and could drive just fine; now you start questioning exactly how many and what kind of drinks you had.
As you wait for the officer to come up to your window you begin to wonder if you really ate as much as you thought you did. What if he asks you to take a field sobriety test? Maybe you could pass. What if you don’t? Will this affect your job? Can you even afford a DWI?
As social drinking is a common part of our culture and driving is even more common, this situation happens across the country several times a day.
If you are a Minnesota driver, it is important to know how our drinking and driving laws operate. Before you find yourself blind-sighted by the flashing red and blue, consider these FAQs about Minnesota driving laws, and reach out to a Mankato DWI attorney for help:
What is the legal BAC in Minnesota?
The term BAC refers to the blood alcohol content of an intoxicated person. This is the measurement that law enforcement uses to determine whether a person is legally too intoxicated to drive on Minnesota roads. If a driver is under 21 there is a “zero tolerance” policy employed. This means anything above .00% is grounds for an officer to issue a citation for, or even arrest, the underage driver. If a driver is over 21 years old a .08% limit is applied. Anything above is grounds for arrest.
What if I refuse a chemical test?
Minnesota has an “implied consent” law. If you drive on Minnesota’s roads you are deemed to have consented to the rules of the road. This means that if law enforcement has probable cause to believe that you have been driving while intoxicated, they can require you to take a blood, breath, or urine test. This is the case even if you have not been arrested. If you refuse to take a test you can be subject to an automatic one-year license revocation. When an officer requests that you submit to a test they are required to tell you that refusal to submit is a crime and that you may speak with your attorney for a reasonable amount of time before taking the test.
What are the penalties for a DWI in Minnesota?
For a first offender the maximum allowable penalties for a DWI are up to 90 days in jail, up to $1,000.00 fine, up to a 90-day license suspension and an interlock ignition device installation in the vehicle. Each subsequent offense allows for each of these to be increased. By the fourth offense, Minnesota law allows imprisonment up to seven years and up to $14,000.00 in fines.
As you can see, the laws for driving under the influence in Minnesota are harsh. However, there are strict rules that officers must follow while arresting and questioning a suspect for driving while intoxicated. When an officer does not follow these rules, the arrest or prosecution may not be valid.
As former prosecutors, the Mankato DWI attorneys at contact Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Offices intimately understand what is required of an arresting officer. Contact us today to discuss your case.