Twin Cities DWI / DUI Defense Lawyer
If you have been charged with a drunken driving offense, you need an attorney to defend you in criminal court as well as the civil driver's license revocation or cancellation.
I am Thomas W. Jakway, a Woodbury, Minnesota, lawyer fully prepared to handle your criminal driving charges, including misdemeanor DUI, felony DUI, criminal vehicular operation and vehicular homicide. The most important thing to understand is that being arrested, charged or being ticketed are very different from actually being proven guilty. My goal is to understand the circumstances around your DWI arrest, and then make the best possible plan to proceed. That may mean fighting the charges in court, working with the prosecutor to get a favorable plea agreement, or working to get the charges dismissed altogether.
Below is some general information about the unique laws governing DWI/DUI. To get assistance from an attorney with a commitment to aggressively defending your rights, contact me today. I offer a free phone or office consultation so that you can get an idea of what I can do for you without any obligation to move forward.
General Information on Drunk Driving
While individual states call it different things (OWI, DUI, DWI, DWUI, etc) the laws basically describe the same act: driving a motor vehicle while under the influence or impaired (defined as a .08 or higher blood alcohol concentration level). An arrest in the state of Minnesota for Driving While Impaired or DWI will generate two individual and separate legal proceedings. This is why people often receive two papers when they are arrested for DWI. The first is a ticket for the criminal charge that will deal with the alleged drunk driving offenses involved. The second is an administrative proceeding brought by the Minnesota Department of Transportation which may result in a revocation of your Minnesota driving privileges.
Minnesota Statute Section 169A.20 states it is a crime for any person to drive, operate or be in physical control of any motor vehicle when the person is under the influence of alcohol, the person is under the influence of a controlled substance, the person is under the influence of a combination of alcohol and drugs and the person's alcohol concentration is .08% or more. You can be arrested for suspicion of a DWI even if your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is under .08% if the officer feels you were operating your vehicle in a dangerous and/or reckless manner.
Minnesota is an "implied consent" state in which all licensed operators of motor vehicles in the State of Minnesota (as well as those who are citizens of another state operating a motor vehicle in Minnesota) have agreed to alcohol testing by simply exercising their Minnesota driving privileges. In short, that means that in Minnesota, the implied consent laws give the police permission to subject you to testing once they have probable cause to believe you have driven under the influence.
Penalties for drunk driving / DWI in Minnesota can include:
- Loss or suspension of license
- Large fines
- Court-ordered substance-abuse treatment
- Time in prison or jail
- Community service
- Restitution (if your DWI caused damage to someone's property)
- Criminal record (which can restrict future employment opportunities)
If you have been stopped for, arrested for or charged with DWI in Minnesota, it is in your best interest to discuss your options and rights as soon as possible with a qualified DWI lawyer. Minnesota's DWI law is complex and there are several possible outcomes for any charge. Knowing how the courts operate, how they typically charge cases, knowing when they are willing to, and how to negotiate with the prosecutor are all benefits you receive from selecting the right representation for your DWI case.
Driving or Not, being "In Control" of a car can lead to DWI chages
The requirement of driving or operating implies that the driver must have control or command of the vehicle. Guilt or innocence may hang on whether the defendant was actually "driving" in a particular circumstance. Several Minnesotans have been charged for merely sleeping in their car while under the influence, as possession of the keys, as well as being in the vehicle can constitute "control" over the vehicle.
The most substantial piece of evidence the prosecution will bring against someone who has been charged with DWI in Minnesota is the results of their BAC (blood-alcohol concentration) test. This test in Minnesota can be taken one of three ways:
- A blood draw perfomed by a qualified medical professional
- A portable breath testing device (often called a "Breathalyzer)
- Urine testing
The timing, justification for testing, method of testing, procedure of testing, proper maintenance of the testing materials and the actual science behind the testing can all come into play when defending your DWI charge. One of the biggest mistakes someone who has been charged with DWI can make is to assume that because the testing device measured over .08 that they should plead guilty. The fact of the matter is, the results of BAC testing are called into question on an almost daily basis in Minnesota courts.
In addition to the scientific testing, your general behavior when driving, upon being pulled over and when working with the arresting officer can all end up being reviewed in court. Some of the tests that may have been performed in addition to the BAC testing include:
- Finger-to-nose test
- One-legged stand
- Walk-and-turn test
- Horizontal-gaze-nystagmus test
- Picking up coins
- Counting backwards
- Reciting the alphabet
- Portable Breath Test (PBT)
What's important to understand about these tests is that successful performance relies on a myriad of physical conditions and abilities. They are subjective and what the "tests" reveal can be challenged by an experienced and effective DWI lawyer.
Free Consultation for DWI charges | Call Thomas Jakway today
While I hope that the above information was helpful, the only way to truely receive legal advice is to sit down and speak with a DWI lawyer. There are thousands of possible factors that can improve or hurt your chances of a good outcome to your DWI case. My job is to understand what happened, and then look for ways to apply Minnesota law to your situation. Did the police have the right to pull you over? Was all of the testing done correctly? Were there other factors that could have led to a faulty BAC test? Call my office at (651) 731-6680 or click here to contact me so we can discuss your case, and how I can help.