Legal Representation In Minnesota And Wisconsin

DWI Charges: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions

A drunk driving conviction can have serious repercussions on your career and your personal life. If you face DWI charges, the experienced attorneys at Bird, Stevens & Borgen can provide the strong defense you need. Our firm has served Minnesota and Wisconsin residents for more than 30 years. We can guide you through your charges and protect your future.

Below, we provide answers to frequently asked questions about DWI charges in Minnesota. If you have any other questions, please reach out to our firm. Call our Rochester office at 507-218-2392 or our Bloomington office at 952-209-9978. Schedule a free consultation today.

Do I have to take a breathalyzer test if suspected of drunk driving in Minnesota?

Minnesota police officers typically carry a portable breath test to measure a driver’s breath alcohol concentration (BAC) when they suspect the driver of drunk driving. You may choose to refuse a preliminary breath test (PBT) on the side of the road; however, you are required to submit to an official breath test at a police station or hospital or face consequences.

Refusing to submit to a police station- or hospital-administered breath test may result in civil penalties, such as the loss of your license. The revocation period will vary depending upon your DWI history and the facts of your case. You can also face criminal penalties for refusing a breath test. The decision about whether to submit to a test at the police station is a fact-intensive inquiry. You are given a limited opportunity at the police station to contact a lawyer about whether to submit to a test or not. It is wise to exercise your right to counsel in making the decision to submit or refuse.

Do I have to take the field sobriety tests if a Minnesota police officer requests it?

You have the right to refuse field sobriety tests in Minnesota.

Will I lose my Minnesota driver’s license if convicted of DWI?

Typically, your license is revoked 7 days after your DWI arrest. You have 60 days to challenge the revocation of your driver’s license after a DWI arrest. Immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer if you are charged with drunk driving to fight license revocation.

Is a first-time DWI a felony charge?

In most instances, a first time DWI is a misdemeanor offense (Fourth Degree DWI). However, if aggravating factors are present, such as a breath test above 0.16, a child in the car, or if you refuse the breath test at the police station, you can be charged with a gross misdemeanor offense (Third Degree DWI).

If you are involved in a traffic accident while under the influence of drugs or alcohol and the accident results in bodily harm or death to another, you can be charged Criminal Vehicular Operation/Homicide, which can, depending on the circumstance, be a felony.

Can I expunge a DWI from my record in Minnesota?

Criminal expungement of a DWI is possible but can be difficult in the 10 years following your conviction. You should contact a criminal defense lawyer to assess whether this is possible.

Can I get a DWI from a drunk driving checkpoint in Minnesota?

Drunk driving checkpoints are illegal in Minnesota. The police need reasonable cause to pull you over for suspected drunk driving. Any violation of the traffic law is reasonable cause. This could include swerving across lanes, driving too fast or too slow for the speed limit, misusing turn signals, running red lights or other poor driving techniques that could suggest impairment.