You’ve Been Stopped For A DWI or DUI. What Actually Happens Now?

When you’re stopped for a DWI in Minnesota, what happens next depends on a variety of factors. Some include, if you have any prior DWIs, or if your drivers license was revoked due to alcohol consumption within the last 10 years. Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will also play a role, as will whether or not you refused to take the BAC test. Lastly, your attitude towards law enforcement, if there were children in the vehicle at the time of your arrest, and whether or not anyone was injured due the incident can all be considered in a DWI charge.

 In the ‘Typical’ DWI cases here is what will happen:

  1. The police officer will make a stop of your vehicle on the side of the road.
  2. The officer will ask you a few questions, asking where you are going, where you are coming from, have you been drinking, etc.
  3. You will be asked to step out of the vehicle. You will be asked to perform a standardized field sobriety test, which usually consists of a 9 step walk and turn test, a 30 second one leg stand and the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN). If you fail these tests, (and these tests are entirely up to the officer giving them to you) you may be asked to give a preliminary breath testing device (PBT).
  4. A PBT is more commonly known as a breathalyzer, which is a small black box you will be asked to blow into that measures the alcohol level that is in your system. The PBT uses a chemical / electrical gauge (also referred to as a fuel cell), which determines your blood alcohol level. The law enforcement officer will place you under arrest if your blood alcohol level is 0.08 or more in the state of Minnesota.  It is important to understand that this test is not admissible in court, unless you refuse to take the test. A PBT only serves to enable the police officer to place you under arrest with probable cause for driving while impaired.
  5. The law enforcement officer will then take you either to the hospital for a blood draw or to the police station for a urine or breath test. Most people do not know that in every DWI in Minnesota, law enforcement is required to allow you to speak with a DWI or DUI attorney before you take any test, whether it is a blood, breath or urine test. Remember that the test may be suppressed in court in the event that the police officer does not allow you to consult with the attorney of your choice, as long as you are actively trying and asking to speak with your attorney. Law enforcement preventing you from getting in touch with your attorney makes a conviction for a DWI much more difficult for the prosecutor.
  6. Once you’ve taken the test, one of several things might happen. You may be released to a sober adult, sent to a detoxification center, or the police may request that you be kept in jail until your first appearance in court. Once in court, bail and release conditions will be set by the judge. In any case, you retain the right to take an alternative test administered by a person of your choosing, even if you are in jail.

Have any more questions?  Call 507-625-5000 or email and set up an consultations.