If you or someone you know has been charged with a DUI or DWI, your first thought is probably “now what?” You might be wondering what the first steps are that you need to take to protect yourself. The truth is, you’re taking one of the most important steps by educating yourself. Taking the time to read and understand the information we have included here is a great first step.
Not an uncommon question, and a good one at that. DUI is generally known as “driving under the influence,” and can include drugs and alcohol. This may or may not include a specific level of a substance, and because of this, all a prosecutor needs to prove is that your ability to drive was impaired as a result of the drugs or alcohol.
DWI typically means “driving while intoxicated.” Intoxication usually evaluates your blood-alcohol concentration, or BAC. In Minnesota, the legal BAC limit is 0.08 percent. Depending on the circumstances, however, you can be arrested for a BAC less than 0.08, especially if you are underage or were driving a commercial vehicle. Minnesota also enforces a “no tolerance” policy for underage drivers, meaning any level of alcohol found in the blood of a minor will result in an arrest.
Woah, hold your horses there. Just because you have been arrested doesn’t mean you are automatically going to jail. After all, this is America, and certain laws have been established to protect the rights of its citizens. Conviction of a DUI or DWI, and subsequently jail time, is always a possibility, but it isn’t necessarily a probability. That’s why it’s so important to know what the laws are, what your options are, and what you need to do to protect yourself in court.
Impaired driving is a serious offense. In Minnesota, if convicted you could face both criminal and administrative penalties (read: jail time and harsh monetary fines). We aren’t trying to scare you, just better inform you so know exactly what you’re up against here.
Punishments for conviction of a DWI or DUI differ based on many variables, such as age and whether or not the accused has been convicted in the past. Generally speaking, most criminal penalties are misdemeanors for first, second and third offenses and include fines and suspension of driving privileges. If this is someone’s fourth criminal offense, however, the DWI becomes a felony, and may result in 7 years imprisonment, impounded license plates and vehicle forfeiture. Courts may also charge a felony for intoxicated driving if vehicular injury or homicide was involved.
Because every situation is different, it’s best to speak with a criminal defense lawyer fluent in the varied levels of DUI and DWI punishment that will get to know you and your unique situation to better defend you.
Just because it happened in your car doesn’t mean a DUI or DWI is a traffic offense. They are considered criminal offenses, and the government won’t hesitate to enact the necessary punishments. Conviction of a DUI or DWI is serious business, and must be taken seriously. That’s why it’s so important to not only educate yourself, but have an experienced attorney who knows the laws and can stand behind you in court. At Flakne Law we are seasoned criminal defense attorneys, and we’ve been actively defending our clients in court for many years.