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You’ve Been Arrested for Drunk Driving; Now What?

Have you been arrested for DWI? Driving while intoxicated (DWI) in Minnesota or North Dakota is a serious charge. It can result in jail time, fines, license revocation, insurance premium spikes and more. As these penalties pile up, you can wind up losing your job, relationships, reputation and freedom.

Thorwaldsen and Malmstrom has a team of experienced DWI defense attorneys to help you if you are facing drunk driving charges in Northwestern Minnesota or Eastern North Dakota. We will fight passionately on your behalf to have your charges reduced where possible or dismissed if warranted. Plus, we’ll maintain your rights and limit personal damage to your finances and good name. Call now for a free consultation.

Can I Defend Myself Against DWI Charges?

Don’t give up hope if you have been stopped for driving under the influence of alcohol; remember, you are innocent until proven guilty. You may feel that you have no options. More specifically, that whether you hire a good DWI lawyer or go before the judge alone, the outcome will be the same. This is not our experience.

Most individuals are not aware that DWIs are actually two cases: one civil and one criminal. The criminal charges result in jail time, fines, probation, etc. Civil charges involve implied consent (discussed below). Civil charges result in the loss of your driver’s license, CDL, vehicle and the like. Having good legal counsel from an attorney who is knowledgeable about the law and experienced in DWI defense is key. It’s critical to achieving the best possible outcome against both civil and criminal charges.

There are a few things you need to consider before you decide to face the court without legal counsel. Ask yourself the following questions to determine if you are knowledgeable enough about the law and court procedures to wage a good defense on your own. If you have any doubts, do yourself and your loved ones a favor, and call a DWI attorney in your area.

  • Will I lose my license? If so, for how long? Is there anything I can do to stop it?
  • If I am guilty of the charges, what can I do to minimize the damage?
  • If I am not guilty, what should I do to prove it?
  • Was the breath test, urine sample or blood test correct?
  • Were the police justified in pulling me over?

Criminal DWI Charges

Depending on your history, a DWI is charged as a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or a felony. Other considerations include your blood alcohol content, whether or not the incident resulted in property damage, if someone was injured or died. These are serious charges that can ruin your life, and you are entitled to defend yourself against them.

A DWI Attorney Ensures Your Rights Are Protected

Proceedings in your case begin when law enforcement first determines to pull you over. Perhaps this was due to your slow reaction time, erratic driving, speeding, driving excessively slowly, or failing to obey other traffic signs.

Once you have been stopped, the officer must have good reason to suspect you are impaired by alcohol or drugs before asking you to submit to field sobriety testing. Simply detecting the odor of alcohol may not qualify. During these proceedings, the officer must uphold a driver’s rights at all times. Failing to do so may result in having the charges dropped. An attorney with experience in these areas will notice any discrepancies and flesh them out.

What Are DWI Civil Proceedings?

The civil charges we mentioned above involve what is referred to as “implied consent.” When you receive a driver’s license, it is assumed that you have agreed to keep the highways and byways safe, including from drunk drivers. Therefore, you’ve given consent to testing when escorted to the police station and requested that you be tested for chemicals in your system. Your consent to this testing comes from simply by having a valid driver’s license. The outcomes of these tests may result in suspension or revocation of your license. Additionally, this may be used against you in court. However, these tests are not infallible. According to Abraham Lincoln University, even health issues, like GERD and diabetes, can result in higher-than-accurate test results.

Act Quickly to Preserve Your Driving Privileges

While the criminal DWI charges against you may ultimately be dropped, the separate civil charges that resulted in the suspension of your license will stand. For this reason, it is imperative that challenges be filed quickly to reinstate your driving privileges. Defendants who are dealing with charges of driving over the legal limit of alcohol have a limited time (10 days in North Dakota) to challenge license suspension, vehicle forfeiture, seizure and/or sale of a vehicle, and even the loss of license plates. We strongly encourage you to speak with a good attorney as soon as possible after being arrested for DWI so you can address these civil charges before it’s too late.

You Could Lose Your CDL

For CDL license holders, the consequences of losing a driver license can mean being unable to cross from the United States into Canada, or having your Fast Pass denied. A drunk driving conviction can result in losing your CDL for a year for a first offense, with permanent revocation for a second offense. Knowing how and when challenges must be filed is critical to their success. Working with a seasoned DUI defense attorney from a respected law firm will ensure the process is approached correctly and all deadlines are met.

You Deserve to Be Treated with Fairness and Understanding

Each DWI situation is unique and we believe it should be treated as such. We know that to drive while impaired from drinking alcohol is a poor choice, which can be avoided by choosing a designated driver. Yet DUI and DWI arrests are made every day on our roadways. While no one wants to find themselves arrested for drunk driving, the reality of it must be dealt with. Thoroughly investigating your case ensures that the charges against you are justified and that testing was completed properly and results are indisputable. If inconsistencies are noted, you deserve to have them addressed.

Rest assured; we will treat you with respect and fight aggressively to obtain the best possible outcome for you if you are dealing with a DWI or DUI charge in MN or ND. Call Thorwaldsen and Malmstrom today for a free DWI defense attorney consultation.