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What to do if arrested for a DWI in Minneapolis or St. Paul

No one plans on being arrested for a DWI.  If you knew that you were intoxicated and that you would be pulled over for drunk driving, you’d call a cab.  Despite people’s best intentions, however, it’s a common scene where someone has “one too many” and is pulled over for a driving violation on their way home.  After some questions and field sobriety tests, you could be arrested and brought to the station.

Implied Consent — What’s it about?

Minnesota has a law that basically says that you consent to provide a blood alcohol test if there is probable cause to believe that you are driving while intoxicated.  This is the “implied consent” as the law is known.  As part of the procedure, the police officer should give you the chance to speak with an attorney if you want.  However, you might find a few voice mailboxes if you call at 1:00 in the morning (not on my line though, I’ll do my best to answer).  If you can’t speak with an attorney what should you know about the implied consent procedure?

To take the DWI test or refuse

The biggest decision you have is whether to take the DWI test or refuse.  Refusal is a crime in Minnesota and carries with it the penalties for the most aggravated DWI test in most–but not all–cases.  So, it is usually to your advantage to take the test.  Often, it’ll be no worse than refusing.

Which test to take?

Under the law, the police officer can offer breath, blood, or urine testing.  Blood testing is the most accurate, while breath testing is the most convenient.  If blood or urine tests are offered, you have a choice of either type (you can do blood or urine alcohol testing).  However, if breath testing is offered, that is probably the one that you’ll have to do.  If you have to take a breath test, make sure you blow a good amount of air into the machine.  They have sensors that determine whether a sufficient amount of air to do the reading has been blown.  If you are short of breath, the machine might register that as a refusal.  If you have trouble blowing enough air, let the police officer know immediately and ask to do another test.  If a blood test is administered, make sure it is done by a qualified professional, and a new, valid blood test kit is used.  For urine tests, alcohol can build up in your bladder over a number of hours.  If you haven’t used the bathroom in a while, ask to be able to go without a test first, and try to have a test on the second urination (officers are not required to let you do this, but it shouldn’t hurt to ask).

After the DWI Test

Once testing is complete, you may be arrested and held overnight.  If so, try to contact family or friends to have an attorney set bail for you.  I have had much success getting bail set before a court date and getting people arrested for DWIs out of jail early.  As soon as possible, call a Minneapolis or St. Paul DWI attorney and find out your options.  Eric Rice is a St. Paul and Minneapolis DWI lawyer and has experience representing clients accused of DUI in Minnesota.  Contact Eric at (651) 998-9660 or for a free consultation to learn about your options for a drunk driving case.