After a long, hard day at work, you stop in at a restaurant in Mankato to meet a friend. You have a bite to eat and decide that a second drink probably won’t hurt anything. Even though you know you are driving home afterwards, you vow to have some water and more food and are sure that will do the trick. When it is time to head home, you calculate the amount you had to drink and the time elapsed, and determine you are fine to get behind the wheel. As you get on the road, however, you realize you may be a bit buzzed, although your driving is unaffected and not concerned about getting pulled over for a DWI. That’s when you see those flashing red and blue lights and feel your stomach fall through the floor. As the officer walks up to your car, all the moisture in your mouth disappears. What to do?
Do Not Incriminate Yourself
One of the most common mistakes Mankato police officers make is stopping a vehicle without just cause. This is often the basis for dismissing the prosecutor’s case against you. If you are suspected of driving while intoxicated, it is in your best interest to avoid aiding the police in evidence collection. This means exercising your right to remain silent.
It is best to give the officer your basic information such as name, address, and age. It is also best not to tell the officer that you have just left the bar, that you “only had a few drinks,” or that you “forgot to eat.” This entire information may be used in the prosecution against you. It is in your best interest to be respectful to the officer without volunteering information that is harmful to your position.
Contact an Attorney
Under Minnesota law, a police officer is required to permit you to speak with an attorney before you take a blood, urine or breath test. In fact, an officer’s refusal to allow you to speak with an officer prior to giving you such a test may result in the test being thrown out of court altogether.
When you contact a DWI attorney you will be informed of your rights, advised on how to answer police interrogations, and protected from overzealous police techniques. If you do not contact an attorney and attempt to be your own advocate, you may unwittingly find yourself volunteering information to the police that will aid the prosecutor in securing a conviction against you.
The best way to protect yourself is to secure the guidance of a knowledgeable DWI attorney.
Know the Law
Although it is not usually practical for someone who is not a DWI attorney to fully understand every aspect of Minnesota DWI law, it is important to understand the basics. You will be placed under arrest if your preliminary Breathalyzer shows a blood alcohol content above the legal limit. Even though this preliminary test is not admissible in court, it does give law enforcement the justification they need to place you under arrest.
An arrest does not mean that you are guilty. Just because you have been placed under arrest does not mean you need to start admitting to information about which you are questioned by the police. This is the time to contact an attorney, not the time to help officers build their case against you.