The rights of a motorist during a DWI traffic stop

On Behalf of | May 16, 2023 | DWI |

Interacting with law enforcement can be intimidating for a Minnesota motorist. When pulled over for suspected drunk driving, the individual behind the wheel may not know what to do or how to protect his or her rights during this overwhelming situation. It is helpful for all drivers to know how to shield their interests while also cooperating with law enforcement throughout the entire traffic stop. This knowledge is helpful, and it can help one understand if he or she has experienced a violation of personal rights. 

What to expect during a traffic stop 

To stop a driver, law enforcement must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime or traffic violation is or has been committed- a standard less than probable cause. This means they must articulate a valid reason to stop a vehicle, such as swerving or driving erratically. During a stop, a driver may find the following suggestions helpful to protect themselves: 

  • Keep all important documentation in a safe place, such as a driver’s license and vehicle registration. 
  • Be polite to law enforcement, but do not admit to anything, even if it seems minor. 
  • Decline to answer any questions regarding whether the driver has been drinking. 

It is important to remember that failure to comply with sobriety tests or a chemical test could result in an arrest, even if the alcohol concentration is under the per se statutory legal limit of .08. 

Knowing your rights is critical 

A Minnesota driver who knows his or her rights will be in a better position from which to defend those rights. During a suspected DWI traffic stop, this could make a significant difference in the outcome of any charges that are filed. A strong defense strategy begins with a complete assessment of the entire interaction with law enforcement, starting with the initial traffic stop.  



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