Written by attorney Max A. Keller

Can I get out of a DWI in Minnesota by Switching Seats with the Passenger?

A Minnesota man is facing felony driving while impaired charges and a felony charge for an alleged assault on a jailer after a recent traffic stop. Law enforcement claims the man they accuse of DWI changed seats with his female passenger after pulling over for a traffic stop.

Law enforcement was reportedly responding to a witness tip suggesting the man accused of DWI had been drinking before driving. Police claim they received a tip that a man who was allegedly kicked out of a Mankato bar was drunk and arguing with a woman. The tip alleged that the pair drove off in a pickup truck. A police officer responding to the tip claims he found the pickup while en route to the saloon.

The officer says the pickup was speeding and swerving before he pulled it over. Police claim the vehicle did not immediately pull over when the officer activated his lights and sirens. When the pickup eventually stopped, the officer claims he could see the male driver duck down briefly and then the two occupants of the vehicle allegedly switched seats.

The man accused of driving the pickup before allegedly switching seats reportedly denied that he had been drinking and driving. He allegedly told the officer that the police had no basis to conduct the traffic stop. Nonetheless, the officer says he subjected the man to a preliminary breath test. Law enforcement claims the man failed the PBT and took him into custody on suspicion of DWI.

Law enforcement claims the man was combative and refused to submit to a breath, blood or urine test. In Minnesota, refusing to submit an implied consent alcohol test itself can lead to DWI test refusal charges.

Authorities claim the man has three prior DWI convictions within ten years of the recent arrest; a DWI within ten years of three prior convictions allows prosecutors to bring felony DWI charges under Minnesota law.

Police claim the man remained combative at the jail and allegedly threw his belt while changing into a jail uniform. Authorities claim the belt buckle injured a jailer, leading to a felony assault charge.

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