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Which is Worse? A DUI or DWI in Bloomington?

Unsure of which criminal charge is worse: DUI or DWI? In Bloomington, these abbreviations are used interchangeably. That is because the state’s drunken driving law is known as driving while impaired, or DWI.

Many other states use the abbreviation DUI to refer to their drunken diving statute, while other jurisdictions use that term to denote an offense similar to DWI. For that reason, it is understandable to wonder how these charges differ.

Regardless of the abbreviation, an arrest and conviction related to drunken driving can have a huge impact on your life. That said, you should never assume a DWI arrest will result in your conviction. With the right attorney, you could beat the charges against you and avoid any jail time or fines. Contact the attorneys of Gerald Miller right away to learn more.


DWI Laws in Bloomington

In Bloomington, it is unlawful to operate, drive, or have physical control over a motor vehicle while impaired. When it comes to establishing impairment at trial, the prosecution has seven different options. The state only needs to prove one of the following seven factors to secure a DWI conviction:

  1. The person is under the influence of alcohol.
  2. The person is under the influence of a controlled substance.
  3. The person is under the influence of an intoxicating substance and the person knows or has reason to know that the substance has the capacity to cause impairment.
  4. The person is under the influence of a combination of any two or more of the elements named in clauses (1) to (3).
  5. The person’s alcohol concentration at the time, or as measured within two hours of the time, of driving, operating, or being in physical control of the motor vehicle is 0.08 or more.
  6. The vehicle is a commercial motor vehicle and the person’s alcohol concentration at the time, or as measured within two hours of the time, of driving, operating, or being in physical control of the commercial motor vehicle is 0.04 or more.
  7. The person’s body contains any amount of a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or II, or its metabolite, other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinol.


Defenses in DWI Cases

Just like with any type of criminal case, there are viable defense strategies available in a DWI prosecution. A strong defense could result in the dismissal of the charges against you or a positive verdict at trial. While there are countless defenses that apply to all criminal charges, there are some that primarily impact DWI cases. These defenses often represent the best options for avoiding a conviction. The most common types of defenses in a Bloomington DWI case involve challenges to the traffic stop or the chemical test results.


Challenging the Traffic Stop

When it comes to defenses in a DWI case, there are few options better than challenging the legality of the traffic stop. It is important to remember that the police do not have the power to pull over a driver any time they want. Instead, the police must have a reasonable suspicion that the driver has committed a traffic violation or some other crime. Usually, that involves the officer witnessing the driver committing a violation like speeding or running a red light.

Illegal traffic stops can lead to the exclusion of all of the evidence collected by the arresting officer. This is true due to a legal doctrine known as the “Fruit of the Poisonous Tree.” Under this doctrine, any evidence that resulted from an illegal search or seizure cannot be used at trial. This could include everything from admissions of intoxicated to the results of a breathalyzer test.


Challenging the Chemical Test

Another powerful option available to a Minnesota DWI defense attorney is challenging the accuracy of the chemical test results. Blood, breath, and urine tests are often the centerpiece of the state’s case. If the prosecution has a chemical test that reflects the defendant had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or more while driving, they have enough evidence to make their case at trial.

That said, these tests are only reliable under certain conditions. If specific standards are not met the sample could become compromised and the test result could be inaccurate. Some of the requirements that must be adhered to include:

  • Breathalyzer operators must be certified
  • Breath test machines must be calibrated
  • Blood or urine samples must have a chain of custody
  • Lab technicians must be certified
  • Samples must be stored under certain conditions

If any of the legal requirements for this testing are not met, our attorneys could move to have the results of the tests suppressed from trial. Without the results of your chemical tests, the state might not have enough to secure a conviction.


Contact a Minnesota DWI Attorney Today

You have the right to a defense in your DWI case. To learn how the attorneys of Gerald Miller could help, call right away for a free consultation.

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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