In Minnesota, the terms DUI and DWI refer interchangeably to a class of crimes that make it illegal to drive while impaired. Even though the terms are used interchangeably, there are still many types of DWI charges. Here are the most common two:
The most common charge for DWI requires the State to show that the defendant controlled a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. This charge does not require a blood test. Instead, the State must show two things 1) physical control of a vehicle while 2) under the influence of alcohol. Typically, the State will use driving conduct (e.g., swerving, abrupt lane changes, etc.) and a police officer’s observations of intoxication (e.g., slurred speech, smell of alcohol, field sobriety tests) to prove the elements of this charge.
The other common charge for DWI requires the State to show that the defendant’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was over 0.08 while controlling a motor vehicle. Unlike the Driving While Impaired charge, the defendant may have driven properly and shown no signs of intoxication. However, if a breath, blood, or urine test indicates a BAC over 0.08 within 2 hours of controlling a vehicle, the defendant will be guilty of DWI. For this charge, the BAC test is typically scrutinized to determine if there are issues with reliability.
In addition to the type of DWI charge, a DWI offense typically creates many other questions: Did the police officer stop me properly? Was the BAC test reliable? What are my defenses? What sentence will I receive?
DWI charges can put a job in jeopardy and create large additional expenses, including the loss of your car. If you are facing a DWI, get your questions answered by an experienced DWI attorney. Call attorney Eric Rice at (651) 998-9660 for a no-obligation free consultation if you are facing a DWI charge.