With four decades in the field, Joel Heiligman is an experienced DUI legal defense attorney with the following objectives in mind:

  • Safeguarding your job
  • Helping you stay out of jail
  • Helping you keep your driver’s license
  • Protecting your DMV record
  • Protecting your family

Minnesota last year reached an all-time high in drunk driving-related arrests – 40,000. More so, over 470,000 Minnesotans have, at some point, been arrested on suspicion of DWI. That’s 1 in 8 drivers in the state.

In the state, you don’t necessarily need to be driving to receive a drunk driving charge. Instead, you simply need to be “in physical control” of your car. In other words, climbing in the backseat of your car and sleeping it off could possibly get you in trouble. You may have the following questions regarding DUI arrests:

What should I do if I’m pulled over after I’ve consumed alcohol?

Be polite to the officer. You’ll have to show the officer your driver’s license and insurance card. After that, you shouldn’t have to answer any further questions. You also don’t have to provide consent for the officer to search your vehicle. Otherwise, it could affect your rights when you appear in court.

If the officer asks if I’ve been drinking, how should I answer?

By no means does the law require you to answer alcohol-related questions. You can simply refuse by saying, “I’d like to consult with my attorney first.”

If the officer wants to administer a field sobriety test, how should I answer?

If you haven’t been drinking, then simply taking the test should get you off the hook rather quickly. On the other hand, if you have been drinking, you aren’t actually obligated to take one. When an officer administers such a test, they’re looking for signs that indicate you’re intoxicated.

There are a number of different tests related to suspicion of DUI, otherwise known as “field sobriety tests” (FST). Most federally approved standardized tests in the modern age consist of the following: 1.) Heel-to-Toe – Otherwise known as “walk and turn.” 2.) One-Leg Stand – Counting while balancing on one leg. 3.) Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus – Focusing your eyes and following the officer’s finger as it moves.

You aren’t required by law to take these tests. The law enforcement officer administering FSTs is the only person able to judge your performance. In other words, he or she will only be looking for things you do incorrectly. A polite refusal should suffice.

A common misconception is that the officer will need to read you your Miranda Rights. However, law doesn’t typically require this unless you’ve already been taken into custody or, on the other hand, if the officer intends to question you regarding drunk driving. Most commonly an officer will not read your Miranda Rights until after they’ve administered a chemical sobriety test. After the officer reads you your rights, that’s when you should decline to answer any further questions. Consulting with your lawyer first is the most appropriate course of action.

How is a DWI/DUI punished?

DUI/DWI consequences can vary dependent upon both jurisdiction and circumstances related to the incident. However, the most maximum punishment entails 90 days in jail along with a 1 thousand dollar fine. Meanwhile, a minimum amount of jail team isn’t required. Mandatory penalties for a first time DUI offense include the following: Losing driving privileges, paying reinstatement penalties, and receiving mandatory chemical dependency assessments. Additionally, upon further offenses within the time span of ten years, it is possible to lose your driver’s license and plates.

A 2nd or 3rd drunk driving offense within the span of ten years is considered a gross misdemeanor. This carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and/or a 3 thousand dollar fine. Additionally, if you get 4 within a 10-year span, this is considered a felony – something that also comes with possible jail time.

I need to drive to work. Can I receive approval for a limited license?

Yes, it is possible to receive a limited license should you need to travel to work. This is typically possible for cases in which your alcohol level is under 0.16. Upon a first time offense, you’re administered a temporary license that’ll allow you to drive for 7 days. After that, however, you become eligible to receive a temporary license after 15 days in which you have no driving privileges (a total period of 22 days after being charged).

Can I lose my car?

Yes, it is possible to lose your vehicle, but upon your second offense. However, this depends upon the circumstances of the case made against you.

If you are looking for a DWI legal defense attorney, MN has other options, but there’s only one professional who can answer all your questions regarding the intricacies of DUI law: Joel Heiligman. Call our offices at 763-788-9231 for your free consultation.