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Minneapolis DWI Lawyer: The 4th of July, DWI, and BWI

It’s hard to explain to non-Midwesterners just how special and rarified these summer months can feel, culminating with the 4th of July. From late September (October if we’re lucky) until mid-April, the weather in Minnesota is touch-and-go at best—and can’t-leave-your-house-without-six-layers-on at worst. If it’s not snowing, it’s raining, and if it’s not raining, the cold winds make it feel as though it will at any moment. A stretch of sunny days in March, and Minnesotans feel like they won the lottery. By the time June rolls around, sitting inside feels like a guilty pleasure—nearly the whole state can be found out-of-doors, soaking up their Vitamin D as if the pleasures of the sun could be revoked from them tomorrow.

The 4th of July marks the high-point of this hedonistic season: with the sun setting late and hot weather a guarantee, people start cracking open a cold one as soon as they fire up the grill—and often, they don’t stop cracking them open until well after the fireworks have ended. Many of those folks then find themselves behind the wheel with a heady buzz—and if they’re not careful, they may find themselves behind bars, or worse.

One out of every seven Minnesota drivers has at least one DWI conviction on his or her record. And the 4th of July has a notorious reputation for being the worst holiday of the year for drunk driving. Read on to make sure you’re not one of the over 450 drivers expected to be arrested for a DWI this holiday.

If you are, you should contact a Minnesota DWI attorney as soon as possible after your arrest.

DWI lawyer Gerald Miller and his team – Kyle Dreger and Cody Wright – are highly experienced in defending difficult drunk driving cases. We’ve taken cases all the way to the Minnesota Court of Appeals and beyond. Gerald Miller Law Firm has a high success rate, a commitment to compassion, and we will work tirelessly to get your charges reduced or dismissed.

If you are cited for DWI this holiday weekend, call Minneapolis DWI Attorney Gerald Miller  at 612-440-3864. We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – even of the 4th of July – to answer your questions and begin defending your case. Your first consultation is free.

A DWI on the 4th of July? Here’s Why Drivers are Especially At Risk

It’s not just Minnesotans who love the 4th of July. This year, nearly 35 million Americans are expected to travel somewhere by car this Independence Day weekend. In 2018, nearly one in three Americans either hosted or attended a barbeque, with over 155 million hot dogs grilled up and consumed — and more than 68 million cases of beer to wash them down. What could be so harmful about an easy drive to your friend’s house for a backyard cookout this 4th of July? It turns out, quite a bit.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more people die in drunk driving accidents in July than in any other month—and 40% of all traffic-related deaths occur over the 4th of July weekend alone.

You might expect St. Patrick’s Day or New Year’s Eve to take the cake when it comes to drunk-driving offenses—after all, they are notorious for being huge party nights. But more DWI arrests occur on the 4th of July than any other holiday. Data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety shows that in the last five years, an average of 3.9 arrests were made per hour on the 4th of July.

 Per hour? Yes, you read that correctly.

The “100 deadliest days” of driving occur in the period between Memorial day and Labor day — and with the 4th smack-dab in the middle of these summer months, the spike in arrests seen during this weekend starts to make sense. Minnesota officers are on especially high alert this year: 113 motorists were killed in speed-related driving deaths in 2018 —the highest number reported in a decade. Given the frequency of deaths in this summer stretch, Minnesota police, deputies, and troopers have reported they’ll be working overtime betweenJune 18 and July 21 to  keep an eye out for reckless drivers who may be putting the populace at risk by drinking and driving.

In Minnesota, it is against the law to drive if you have a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, as measured within two hours of you driving. For every 88 instances of driving, someone is arrested for operating a motor vehicle above the legal limit. Within two hours of drinking – at any given location in the country, including Minnesota – an average of 772 drivers will be arrested for drunk driving, according to federal statistics.

Getting Pulled Over Doesn’t Just Happen on the Roads: Boating While Intoxicated Can Damage Your Record, or Worse

If you’re not at a cookout this weekend, chances are you’re on the boat. Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes, and in the summer months, you can bet to see folks on every single one of them. Yet, despite the prevalence of boaters in the state, many people aren’t aware that a Boating While Intoxicated offense—or BWI—is just as serious as drunk driving. Penalties can include a maximum of 90 days in jail, a maximum fine of $1,000, and a suspension of your boating license for 90 boating season days.

According to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, 30% of fatal boat accidents in the state involve alcohol. With such harrowing statistics to guide them, it’s no wonder the agency has been stepping up its drunk boating enforcement efforts for the last several years. Boaters can bet that the lakes will be especially policed this 4th of July. Don’t just take my word for it—on July 1, the DNR announced impaired boaters will be the explicit target of law enforcement during the holiday weekend. The extra enforcement is part of a broader national campaign known as Operation Dry Water, which aims to prevent individuals from boating while drunk or under the influence of other drugs.

As with road driving, the legal blood-alcohol-concentration limit for boaters is .08%. In addition to the harsh penalties, remember: law enforcement can and will impound your boat, leading to extra headaches and financial cost.

Accidents Happen: What To Do if You Get Arrested This 4th of July

You hit up a few barbeques and the buddy you thought you’d hitch a ride home with leaves early. You didn’t realize how high in alcohol those beers were until it’s too late. Your relatives kept refilling your wine glass before you had the chance to finish… and it crept up on you. Getting drunk often doesn’t happen on purpose—and with your reasoning impaired, it becomes all too easy to slip into the driver’s seat, thinking you’re just fine.

It doesn’t take much for an officer to pull you over—just a quick slip over the lane, and you could be caught. If it happens, you’ll want to be absolutely prepared, and we have the resources to help you every step of the way. First and foremost, it’s crucial to understand your rights once you’re pulled over. Remember: you have the right to refuse a field sobriety test as well as a breath test. I lay it all out for you on my blog here. If you are arrested for boating while intoxicated, remember that if you are convicted, you don’t just lose your boating license—you can use your license to operate a motor vehicle as well (click here to find out more on my blog about this topic.) If you see those flashing lights in your rear view mirror, know that our able attorneys can help you navigate your course and possibly even prevent conviction.

The stakes of an arrest are high—and the consequences can be life-changing, whether you’re driving a car or a boat. If you’re arrested for a DWI or BWI this holiday weekend, give us a call right away. We have the time, tools, and resources to save you from maximum penalties. Don’t let this holiday ruin all the others. Call our Minnesota law firm and find out what we can do for you. An experienced DWI attorney – especially one who specializes in DWI cases – is imperative. We have earned the SuperLawyers designation by Thomson Reuters.

What to do? 

Did the 4th of July turn out differently than you planned? Contact the experienced Minnesota DWI attorneys Gerald Miller, P.A. Our expert team 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.

We are often asked, “Should I contest this case?” Yes. You should, absolutely, positively 100 percent of the time. Every arrest is different; few are open and shut cases. We look at every aspect of the case, from time of the arrest to 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 decades. A DWI affects your driving ability, your finances and your professional reputation.

Don’t let one mistake hinder a promising future.

Legal Counsel is Critical to Success

The sooner you contact us the sooner we can start protecting your rights. Contact us today to schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.

Call the Minneapolis DWI attorneys at Gerald Miller today 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 FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

About the author

Kyle Dreger

Kyle Dreger is a skilled DUI/DWI and Criminal Defense lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. Kyle has received his law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. He is also a professionally trained basketball player.

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