How police officers in Minnesota build a DWI case

On Behalf of | May 13, 2024 | DWI |

Those arrested for driving while impaired (DWI) offenses in Minnesota face numerous significant penalties if convicted, not to mention loss of license, vehicle and license plates. A judge can order them to pay fines and even sentence them to incarceration. The history of the driver accused and the circumstances leading to their arrest influence what penalties a judge may choose to impose.

Those arrested for DWI offenses may choose to mount a defense in criminal court to prove that they did not violate Minnesota law. To do so, they generally need to understand how the state builds the case against them.

Police officers provide prosecutors with the evidence necessary to bring charges and potentially secure a conviction in criminal court. How do police officers prove that someone engaged in impaired driving?

By documenting conduct in traffic

Some police officers begin to suspect a driver of impairment when putting together a report after a crash. Other times, police officers initiate a traffic stop specifically because they think someone is under the influence of alcohol. Officers typically attempt to document someone’s unsafe or unusual conduct in traffic as proof of potential impairment.

By conducting field sobriety tests

Police officers who think someone may have had too much to drink may ask that driver to step out of their vehicle. They may then ask the driver to perform a series of looking at their balance, focus and other physical factors. Typically, officers administer standardized field sobriety tests at a location where they can capture video footage either through body cameras or vehicle cameras. They may then use those test results to justify an arrest.

By performing chemical tests

Officers who believe that a driver is under the influence may ask to perform a chemical test. Testing is typically mandatory and drivers who refuse might face secondary charges and penalties. The result of the chemical test can play a major role in the criminal case brought against the driver after their arrest.

The attorney representing a DWI defendant often needs to address the state’s evidence, which might require bringing in expert witnesses or developing an alternative explanation for their test performance. Understanding how the state proves DWI charges may help people plan more effectively to fight back against them. Drivers who face DWI charges may need help evaluating the evidence against them and planning an appropriate defense strategy.



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