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Minnesota DWI With Kids in the Car: What Now?

Imagine being on the drive home after the office Halloween party when your spouse calls and tells you they are stuck at the store. It’s now up to you to pick up the kids from athletic practice.

Maybe you’ve only had one or two beers or even a glass of wine. You don’t feel buzzed. So, you pick up the kids with no problems – but one the way home, you see the flashing lights from a Minnesota law enforcement cruiser flashing behind you. 

Suddenly, your boss’ vampire costume is the least scary thing you have seen that day.

 Don’t be afraid; this doesn’t have to turn into a nightmare. The office of Minnesota DWI defense lawyer Gerald Miller is here to help you. Call us today at 612-440-4610. Contact us anytime. 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.

Consequences for getting a DWI with kids in the car

According to Minnesota law, a person charged with DWI faces two types of penalties: civil and criminal. The severity of these penalties can increase if aggravating factors are involved. Aggravating factors can include:

  •   A record of DWI offenses in the past 10 years
  •   A blood alcohol content of .16% or more, or
  •   The presence of a child younger than the age of 16 (and at least three years younger than a person suspected of DWI in the vehicle). This could also be considered a gross misdemeanor.

 A first offense DWI and a BAC of 0.16 with a child can result in a year in jail, a $3,000 fine and the loss of your vehicle. Even if your breath test is under 0.16, and its still your first offense, another civil punishment is the plate impoundment order you will be handed. So in addition to the criminal case notching up a level, the Department of Public Safety will also try and require you have “whiskey plates” for the next year. In addition, having children in the car also changes a judge or jury’s view of you as your present your case in court. 

Minnesota DWI defense lawyer Gerald Miller and his team are here to help you put a Minnesota DWI arrest to rest – and protect your right to drive. Evidence that a child was in the car is only available for a prosecutor to use as an enhancement if the case itself is strong. See our previous blogs, but we will be able to look into the specific facts surrounding your stop or contact with police, the expansion of the scope, and the probable cause to arrest. 

Furthermore, it is important to know that the Minnesota Legislature has also determined that a DWI with kids in the car will also mandate mandatory conditions of release be imposed. According to statute 169A.44, they are either: unconditional bail of $12,000, or conditional release, including no use of alcohol and random testing. These options are usually given to offenders after they appear in court in front of a judge at a Rule 5, bail hearing. Now, depending on what night or day of the week you are arrested, this first court appearance could occur a couple days after arrest. 

Minnesota, its prosecutors, judges and its court system in general, takes DWI’s with kids in the car very serious. Starting with being held in custody right away, having only two options for getting out of jail, and ending with the more serious punishments and consequences they try to impose as the case begins… these cases need the attention of a skilled defense attorney to navigate everything.

 What should you do if you’re stopped for DWI with your child in the car?

DO Have Your Driver’s License and Insurance Ready.

Drivers should keep their driver’s license and proof of insurance readily accessible to present before the officer even approaches the window of the vehicle. The reason to keep the documents in a place where they can be easily retrieved is to prevent the officer from observing you struggle or fumble with the documents when retrieving them. The officer will use these observations as part of the basis for probable cause to initiate a DWI investigation.

DO Ask to Speak to an Attorney.

Before you answer any questions, agree to any tests, or sign any form, you should insist on speaking to your DWI lawyer. Minnesota DWI defense lawyer Gerald Miller and his team can help defend you and your rights. Our team handles all aspects of criminal law across the Twin Cities and statewide. Later on in a DWI process, Minnesota law provides motorists with the right to talk to their attorney before deciding whether to submit to chemical testing. Call us at 612-440-4610. Remember, we are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help you.

Since the function of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) and the portable breath test are to establish probable cause for a DWI arrest, there is not much of a reason for a motorist to agree to participate. However, you have the right to talk to an attorney for a reasonable period of time later during the Breath Test Advisory timeframe, so you should take advantage of this opportunity to talk to with Minnesota DWI defense lawyer Gerald Miller and his team about your best course of action under the specific circumstances of your situation.

Minnesota’s implied consent law requires motorists to submit to a formal breath test at the police station, but that requirement does not extend to field sobriety tests. In other words, you are fully within your right to politely decline participation in any FSTs. The sole purpose of these tests is to furnish the officer with sufficient evidence to justify a DWI arrest.

 DO Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent.

The officer will attempt to answer questions about whether you have been drinking and where you are coming from before the stop. Drivers should remember their right to remain silent and politely decline to answer these questions or provide other information until you have legal counsel present. Most of the time, the officer could care less where you just came from. They don’t really care where you are headed either. Most of their questioning is purposely trying to see if you mess up, slur your speech or show any other signs of impairment.

 About Gerald Miller, P.A.

Were you or someone you love arrested for DWI? The process can be worrisome – or even frightening. There is a lot of legal jargon to weave through and court dates to attend.

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 Minnesota DWI conviction, the experienced Minneapolis DWI attorneys at Gerald Miller, P.A. will review 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. We’ve fought cases all the way to the Minnesota Supreme Court. We dig into 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 negatively impact your future.

We have earned dozens of positive Google, Yelp and Facebook reviews from satisfied clients. Our firm is widely recognized throughout the Twin Cities for our professionalism, compassion, 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 received the elite “SuperLawyer” distinction by Thomson Reuters. 

Legal Counsel is Critical to Success

The sooner you contact us, the faster we can start protecting your rights.  Even if your case cannot be dismissed, the charges may be reduced, which is a positive outcome. First-time offenders have a stronger chance than repeat offenders to see their charges reduced or dismissed. 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 also helps if you were cooperative at the time of your arrest and if you followed the court’s requirements 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 612-430-6743. 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. Visit geraldmillerlawyer.com or check us out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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