Hiring an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney is your best chance at getting your driving while impaired charge reduced or dismissed. If you’re wondering can I win my Minnesota DWI case without a lawyer, you should know that you are taking a gamble. Even if you know you are innocent, you still probably don’t know the law like an experienced Minneapolis DWI lawyer.
How Your Minnesota DWI Stop May Have Played Out
You glance in your rearview mirror and see flashing lights. It’s the police. Surely they’re not after you, right? Maybe the officer will just pass you. Maybe he or she is trying to stop another motorist ahead of you. Maybe it’s all OK.
It’s not. With your heart pounding and a lump in your throat, you slowly pull over to the right side of the road. You watch the officer step out of the squad car and slowly walk towards you, flashlight in hand. It’s after midnight.
He taps on your window and asks, “Do you know why I stopped you?”
“No, officer,” you politely reply.
“You swerved toward the center line a mile or so back. Have you been drinking alcohol tonight?”
You freeze. You want to say no. But the truth is, you’ve had a couple. You weren’t sure if you should be driving – but you live really close so you figured it would be safe. You’re scared. If you’re arrested for DWI, you’re boss will be furious. You’ll be so embarrassed. And will I have to drive with that blow machine? Will I need those whiskey plates?.
Is there any way to beat a Minnesota DWI arrest?
The First Step: Hire the Best Minneapolis DWI Lawyer
Whether you believe you have a chance at a dismissal or not, it’s important to have a DWI attorney fighting for you as soon as possible after your arrest. Minneapolis DWI lawyer Gerald Miller and his experienced legal team have defended some of the most difficult DWI cases in the state. Call Minnesota DWI law firm Gerald Miller, PA at 612-440-4608 or contact us here. We’re available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Your first case evaluation is free.
The DWI attorneys at Gerald Miller, PA will look at your case and remind you that there is always hope. Your case isn’t necessarily cut and dry, open and shut. There is a lot that a lawyer with experience in DWI cases can do to help – including getting your charges reduced or dismissed completely.
What Is a DWI?
In Minnesota and all 50 states, it is against the law to drive if you have an alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. Some states refer to the charge as DUI. Minnesota, though, calls it a DWI, which stands for driving while impaired. The consequences of a DWI conviction can be life-changing, including the loss of your ability to drive, higher insurance rates, threats to your employment status, a blemished criminal record, and harm to your reputation. A DWI in Minnesota is no joke. Prosecutors, law enforcement, and judges take the offense very seriously. That’s why you need the best DWI law firm in the Twin Cities.
Gerald Miller, P.A. has earned the SuperLawyers designation by Thomson Reuters. Our three attorneys – Jerry, Kyle, and Cody – are highly skilled at what they do. They are also sought-after in our field of practice. That includes complex DWI law as well as criminal law.
Defense Options for a Minnesota DWI Arrest
Gerald Miller DWI Law Firm is recognized for our dedication to clients – and our diligence in looking at every single element of a case. That being said, we will look for many ways to build your defense, including:
- Was the traffic stop legal? Under Minnesota law, a law enforcement officer needs a valid reason to stop, detain, or arrest a suspect. This is called “reasonable, articulable suspicion.” Speeding, improper lane change, a broken taillight, and failure to signal are examples of probable cause. If the officer did not have the correct basis to pull you over, your attorney can fight the case, asking the judge to exclude any evidence gained after the invalid stop. If that happens, prosecutors have nothing to work with and the case is ultimately dismissed. Sobriety checkpoints are illegal in Minnesota.
- Was the field sobriety test fair and accurate? Field sobriety tests can be inaccurate. The officer might lack the proper training and experience to perform the test. Or, he or she officer simply neglects to comply with the strict procedures and scoring requirements of field sobriety testing. A field sobriety test looks at:
- The horizontal gaze nystagmus, or an involuntary jerking of the eyeball that occurs as the eyes gaze to one side;
- The walk-and-turn, where the motorist is asked to take nine steps touching heel to toe and in a straight line;
- The one-leg stand test, where the person is told to stand on one leg for about six inches off the ground and count beginning with one thousand one for thirty seconds;
- The portable hand-held breath test that can be administered on the side of the road.
Drivers can fail for many reasons unconnected to alcohol consumption. Fatigue, illness, injury, lack of coordination, proximity to traffic, inappropriate footwear or clothing, medication reaction, and other factors can all lead to a failed field sobriety test.
Motorists pulled over in a traffic stop should always refuse these field sobriety tests. Under state law, a person can politely decline participation in any and all field sobriety tests, no matter the circumstances. Minnesota’s implied consent law requires motorists to submit to a formal breath test at the police station, but again, that requirement does not extend to field sobriety tests on the side of the road.
- Is the BAC accurate? Did the officer administer it correctly? DWI breathalyzer tests can malfunction, or the police might administer the test incorrectly. Even your diet, your health, and environmental factors at the time of your arrest can affect your BAC reading and make it appear higher than it really is.
- Were the officer’s observations accurate? Officers will typically refer to a litany of indicators that are intended to suggest a motorist is impaired, such as red and watery eyes, the smell of alcohol, slurred speech, and poor coordination. Some officers include this information in their report without actually observing such physical signs. How close the officer is to the motorist can affect the accuracy of an officer’s observations.
- Did the police officer read you your rights? The police officer may have failed to read you your Miranda Rights. Once you are in police custody, the police officer is required by law to read these rights to you. If he or she fails to do so, nothing you say or do post-arrest can be used against you in court. In some cases, with the help of a knowledgeable attorney, your case may be dropped altogether.
- Did the officer who arrested you make any other mistakes? Once an arrest has been made, your police officer is required to file a report outlining the evidence against you. It often includes the results of your field sobriety test and breath test, as well as a general narrative of the entire event, from the initial stop to the drive to the police station. These statements include the officer’s rationale for pulling you over and, if applicable, why they searched your car. It’s painful to read the officer’s account of your behavior during the incident. Nobody likes to hear that their speech sounds slurred or that they couldn’t remember obvious details that an officer might ask. It all counts as “evidence” in the case against you. However, recollections are often flawed. People make mistakes. That includes police officers, too.
- Is the evidence against you inconsistent? If you have reason to believe your case includes inconsistent evidence, your attorney can build a strong case in your defense. Were there witnesses that could confirm the statement was misleading or false? No matter how much you drank, you have rights – and you know if something doesn’t feel right. Do you have any other evidence that directly contradicts the officer’s report? If you don’t have concrete evidence yet clearly remember the officer, for instance, did not administer a test that he claims to have done in the report, then you can still be your own witness. Is this your first DWI, with little or no other criminal history? The judge may side with you.
Don’t give up. With the help of the right DWI attorney, you can see your charges reduced or dismissed. A positive outcome is possible. Then, you can move on with your life and put your Minnesota DWI arrest behind you once and for all.
About Gerald Miller, P.A. Minneapolis DWI Lawyers
Were you or someone you love arrested for DWI? The process can be worrisome – or even frightening. There are a lot of unknowns and legal jargon to weave through. You’re not alone. We can help, whether it’s your first DWI or if you’ve been convicted in the past.
If you are facing a conviction, the experienced Minnesota DWI attorneys at Gerald Miller, P.A. will look at your case and determine the best course of action. We will guide you through the process, working toward a positive outcome no matter the circumstances of the arrest. Our firm has a high success rate, and we’ve fought cases all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Your case is not open-and-shut. You should fight. We look at every aspect of the case, from the time of the arrest the officer’s actions to the accuracy of your Breathalyzer test.
What makes Gerald Miller different from other Minnesota criminal defense lawyers?
The Minneapolis lawyers at Gerald Miller handle all aspects of criminal law across the Twin Cities and statewide, but we have focused on DWIs for nearly 40 years. A DWI affects your driving ability, your finances and your professional reputation. Don’t let one mistake affect your future.
We have earned dozens of positive Google, Yelp and Facebook reviews from satisfied clients. We are widely recognized throughout the Twin Cities for our professionalism, compassion, success rate, knowledge, and dedication both in and out of the courtroom. The Minneapolis DWI attorneys at Gerald Miller DWI Law Firm are respected by our peers, colleagues, judges, and prosecutors. We have earned national awards and accolades from the American Bar Association, The National Trial Lawyers, the American Institute of DWI/DUI Attorneys, the National Academy of Criminal Defense Attorneys, the National Academy for DUI Defense, and more.
Gerald Miller, P.A. also has earned the elite “SuperLawyer” distinction by Thomson Reuters.
Legal Counsel is Critical to Success
The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start protecting your rights. Even if a case cannot be dismissed, your charges may be reduced, which is a positive outcome no matter how you look at it. First-time offenders have a stronger chance to receive lower charges than a repeat offender. Some prosecutors will consider reducing a DWI charge to careless driving if the defendant has no prior offenses, a BAC under 0.10 and a good driving record. It helps if you were cooperative at the time of your arrest and if you followed the instructions of the court prior to your hearing, including completing an alcohol assessment and/or DWI classes.
Contact us today to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation at 612-440-4610. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to give you some answers, a little hope, and plenty of well-deserved peace of mind. We can also be reached on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.