Helping a Friend With a DWI
Mistakes can happen, especially when having a good time. It is not uncommon for people to simply forget to wait long enough for their blood alcohol content (BAC) level to drop, and wind up spending the evening in a local jail cell.
The days following the arrest can be very problematic for your friend. Everything from suddenly having to arrange transportation, to appearing in court, can easily be overwhelming – especially if this is his or her first brush with the law. Ultimately, there are some things you can say to your friend to support your friend as their case goes along.
Hire An Attorney
It is never a good idea to walk into a courtroom alone. It is also never a good idea to walk into a courtroom with just any attorney. It is no secret that it takes years of intense education and testing to become a licensed attorney in Minnesota. It takes even longer, however, to be considered an expert in DWI laws. DWI’s are complicated in MN, and that’s why it is crucial to get your friend in contact with a DWI attorney.
The right DWI attorney will be able to challenge the criminal case against your friend, and will be able to challenge the taking of their license as well.
The goal in every case is to win – to hit the home run. However, it is likely that your friend’s case will end with the entering of a plea. The goal changes to minimizing the punishments and penalties. By having someone with several years of experience in handling these cases on your side, it may be possible to reduce the fines and jail time.
Know the Driver’s License Requirements
Just because your friend is facing a DWI charge, doesn’t mean they cannot drive. Each offense level corresponds to a certain revocation period and certain requirements that go along with it. It will be important to inform your friend that they may qualify for different programs, which will allow them to continue to drive on MN roads. They may qualify for a work-permit or ignition interlock.
Ultimately, their attorney can help them get back to driving, but let your friend know that all hope isn’t lost. Before any program is set up, however, make sure they don’t drive without a valid license. It will only make things worse for your friend to pick up new charges other than the DWI itself.
How Can I Help?
Depending on the level of DWI your friend is dealing with, there are varying degrees of punishments required by MN statutes. Therefore, as the process moves along, it will be important to be there as a support structure for your friend.
Helping them with any possible chemical dependency issues, offering to be their personal taxi if necessary, or simply being there for them emotionally can help to alleviate some of the added pressures they are facing while dealing with a DWI charge. It’s never a guarantee, but when it comes time for sentencing, a judge may be more favorable if they see your friend has shown rehabilitation since the day of the offense. You could be part of the reason for that rehabilitation. And all it took was to ask in the very beginning, “how can I help?”