A friend of mine was arrested Thursday night for a DUI. When the cop pulled up due to a complaint from a neighbor, my friend was getting into a friend's vehicle, his truck was parked, not running and he was not in it. The cop gave him and the driver of the other truck both DUI's (I think they are called DWI's in MN but not sure). I think he should fight it due to the fact that he was not driving or in his truck when the cop pulled up but would like a lawyer's opinion.
Thank you for the post.
I am a DWI lawyer in Minnesota with 18 years of experience. A first offense DWI in the last ten years is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1000 fine.
There is also a civil case that results in the revocation of your driver's license. On a first offense over your lifetime, you may be revoked for 30 to 90 days. This is a separate case even though the challenges are largely the same. In order to challenge your license revocation, you must seek a judicial review by filing a petition within 30 days of the offense. Do not forget this critical time period. All too often people with strong defenses come to me too late to challenge the license revocation. The end result goes well beyond simply having your license revoked. A failure to challenge results in an Implied Consent violation on your record which can also affect employment and may be used to enhance any subsequent DWI offense.
There are also additional consequences to a conviction including skyrocketing insurance rates, plate impoundments and sometimes vehicle forfeitures.
There are many challenges to a DWI. Officers must follow very specific steps as part of the arrest. If any one step is missing, the case may be dismissed.
In the present case, there is significant question as to what facts the officer relied upon for the charges. It would seem that an identifies witness provided some information that the individual charged had been driving. Even if that were to be the case, the witnesses statements can be challenged in court. There would also be a question of any potential post driving consumption.
Other points of a defense anaylsis include:
· Reasonable Suspicion. The officer must have reasonable suspicion to believe a specific crime has been committed in order to stop a person. If that reasonable suspicion is lacking the stop and the ticket may be invalid;
· Probable Cause to arrest and charge. The officer must make sufficient observations to form a basis for probable cause to believe that you were operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Oftentimes, officers perform field sobriety tests incorrectly making the arrest invalid;
· Procedures at the Station. The officer must follow very specific procedures at the station including reading and recording an Implied Consent Advisory that informs you that you have a right to a lawyer. If any of the steps are omitted, the charges may be dismissed;
· Test Procedures. Testing methods to determine blood alcohol concentrations are imperfect at best. Like any scientific method, any test result has a margin of error. If the machinery is not properly maintained and even if it is properly maintained, the test results may vary from true Blood Alcohol Concentration. A sufficient variation may result in a reduce charge or no charge.
For a FREE Consultation call us at 612.240-8005 or visit dwicounsel.com.
Should he fight it? Yes, of course. We win these all the time. But you can't win unless you fight it. Though more information is needed to begin the effort to win, I have noticed over the years that often when police charge two people as the driver, at least one of them may have a good chance of winning. But a good DWI defnese lawyer is key, and time is of the essence - since the driver has only 30 days to challenge the drivers license revocation by filing a written petition for judicial review with the court within that time period. After that - too late.
Your friend has great facts to defend against the charge of DUI. The prosecutor in order to obtain a conviction of DUI must prove that your friend was operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and or drugs. Under the facts you describe there was no driving. Your friend should contact a qualified DUI attorney in MN. He can find a qualified DUI attorney in MN at the website for the National College of DUI Defense.
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