Answering Your Questions About Minnesota DWI and DUI
If you’ve been charged with DWI or DUI in Minnesota, you no doubt have a lot of questions. What’s the difference between a DUI and DWI? What happens after a DUI arrest in Minnesota? Do you have rights, and how can you protect them? This general information will help you out, but you’ll definitely also want to hire a good lawyer that’s familiar with DUI and DWI law in Minnesota to make sure that you’re treated according to the law.
Even though in Minnesota any driving offenses are placed under the category of “impaired driving,” there are actually two different offenses that you can be charged with. These are DUI or DWI. DUI refers to driving under the influence, which only means that an officer needs to prove that a driver was under the influence, and it does not need a specific blood alcohol level to prove it. DWI however, refers to driving while intoxicated and for this, there is a requirement of a blood alcohol level that’s 0.08% and over in Minnesota.
Most people also have DWI questions regarding the penalty they will face if charged. These charges vary, depending on the different aggravating factors and if it’s your first offense or a repeating offense. There is always a fee involved, whether the person was an underage driver, driving with a standard license, or driving a commercial vehicle at the time. However, jail time isn’t always necessary and a good attorney can help you avoid any. Aside from these questions though, most people wonder what happens after a DUI arrest in Minnesota.
The first thing that happens after a DUI arrest in Minnesota is an arraignment hearing. This usually occurs thirty to sixty days after the initial arrest and its only purpose is for the judge to give you your rights. After the arraignment, there will be a pre-trial conference. This usually happens about six weeks after the arraignment and at that time, your attorney and the prosecutor will discuss the best plea bargain that applies to you. Once the pre-trial conference has been arranged, there may be a suppression hearing. The suppression hearing will be held about six weeks to three months after the pre-trial conference. This will determine if there’s any evidence against you that was obtained unlawfully. If there is, that evidence will then be thrown out and not be used in court.
A trial date will be set next, either for a jury or a judge trial, dependant on what you and your lawyer think is best. Shortly after the trial, the only thing left is the sentencing. Sentencing is when the judge passes down your punishment which could include fines, loss of license, house arrest, community service, alcohol education classes, and more.
There’s no doubt that if you’ve found yourself charged with DUI or DWI in Minnesota, you have a lot of questions. Hire a good attorney that can help you sort through all of them, and get you back on the road as soon as possible!
Douglas V. Hazelton has been practicing Twin Cities, Minnesota DUI law for many years. The focus of his practice is criminal law, with alcohol-related offenses --- such as a Twin Cities DUI arrest --- being his prime area of concentration. Hazelton has lectured to national audiences regarding DWI related topics and has published numerous articles on the subject.
Don’t risk your driving freedom! Get the assistance of a DUI / DWI attorney experienced in the Minnesota DUI law. Hire an attorney who will get the job done right by calling Doug V. Hazelton at 1-612-334-3342.
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