Realizing you are about to be pulled over by the police after a night of drinking can cause intense stress and fear. The outcome of this encounter could mean the loss of your driving privileges, incarceration, costly fines and expenses, a criminal record, and more. In this blog post, our highly-skilled team of DWI lawyers provide guidance on your right to legal advice during a DWI investigation in Minnesota.
When You Can Officially Ask for Legal Advice
Under Minnesota law, motorists have a right to telephone a lawyer once a DWI investigation reaches a “critical stage”. Most law enforcement officers will not grant a request to speak to a lawyer before the citizen-officer interaction has reached this point.
The DWI investigation reaches the critical stage once an officer requests that a motorist participate in an evidentiary chemical test. After you have been arrested for DWI, the officer will read the Implied Consent Advisory (ICA), indicating your option of talking to an attorney before submitting to the formal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) test. You must be permitted a reasonable amount of time to speak with your lawyer.
Although the officer will probably not encourage exercising your right to counsel, do not be deterred by feeling that you are acting in an uncooperative or troublesome manner. Invoking your right to legal advice before participating in an evidentiary BAC chemical test amounts to nothing more than exercising your legal rights.
Many police departments will permit you to use your cell phone, which means you can contact one of our experienced DWI attorneys, who are available 24/7. If you do not have a cell phone, the police can provide a phone and a directory of local DWI defense lawyers.
Changes to State DWI Laws for DWI Chemical Tests
The importance of seeking legal advice before submitting to a formal chemical test is magnified by recent changes in Minnesota DWI law. For example, the current state law does not allow you to be charged with a “refusal” for failing to submit to a blood test, but you can be charged with a “refusal” if you do not cooperate with a breath test.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that a warrantless breath test under threat of a criminal charge for refusal was permissible, while a blood test under the same circumstances violated the 4th Amendment.
Seek Legal Help Today!
If you have been arrested for DWI in the Twin Cities or the surrounding areas of Minnesota, we invite you to speak to a DWI defense attorney at Gerald Miller, P.A. as soon as possible.
The sooner you contact us, the sooner we can start protecting your rights. Schedule your free and confidential case evaluation today.