There are so many uncertainties that surround a DWI charge that it can often be difficult to find the answers you are looking for in order to build a complete picture; particularly at such a difficult and worrying time.
What is certain is that you should immediately contact a specialist DWI law firm to represent you as soon as possible, as they will be able to advise you and give you all the facts and vital information you need.
In the meantime here are some of the most common questions we hear from clients when it comes to DWI and DUI charges along with a little advice of our own.
I’ve been charged with a DWI, now what do I do?
It is imperative that you are represented by someone who can guide you through this very complex and ever changing area of law, so contact an attorney immediately. From the initial traffic stop, through the field sobriety testing, and ultimately through the time of the arrest, it is important to meet with an attorney while the arrest is still fresh on your mind to ensure that all of the important facts are documented. Contact an attorney immediately to help protect all of your rights.
Is there anything I can do to avoid losing my license at my first court appearance?
Maybe. If you took the breath test, you are entitled to a hearing regarding whether a Judge can take the drivers license. If through your lawyer, you are able to offer any evidence that tends to rebut the courts initial findings, you may be able to keep your driving license during the pendency of the case. But this is certainly an area where you will require professional advice.
What is the difference between “DUI” and “DWI”?
“DUI” typically means “Driving Under the Influence.” This may or may not include a specific alcohol level. All that is required is that the Prosecutor show that the driver was impaired by alcohol.”DWI” typically means “Driving While Intoxicated.” Intoxication is usually defined as a prohibited alcohol level (.08 in Minnesota).
To complicate matters, Minnesota uses the term “Impaired Driving” which can be either impairment or a prohibited alcohol level.
Will I go to jail?
Although there are mandatory minimum penalties for certain repeat DWI and DUI offenders, many people are able to avoid these and stay out of jail. This is something that an experienced DUI and DWI attorney will be able to help you with.
I had two alcohol offenses when I was younger. What will happen to my license if I have a third conviction?
Depending on when the prior offenses occurred you could face a minimum 90-day revocation and up to an indefinite cancellation of your driving privilege. Again, an attorney will be able to help you with this more when they know your individual circumstances.
When is DUI considered a felony, and when is it a misdemeanor?
You will be charged with a felony DUI if you have been arrested for your fourth offense in 10 years, have previously been convicted of felony DWI, or previously were convicted of causing an injury or death because of drunk driving. First offenses with a BAC under .16 are charged as misdemeanors. Offenses with a BAC over .16 and second and third offenses are gross misdemeanors.
Is a conviction guaranteed if I failed a chemical test?
Just because a test shows the presence of alcohol, it does not necessarily mean that you were legally intoxicated at the time you were driving, meaning that a conviction is not certain. Blood, breath, and urine tests are not always reliable, as there are many factors that can skew results.