What to Do When Charged with a
DUI/DWI in Minnesota's Twin Cities
When you are charged with a DUI/DWI in the state of Minnesota two things happen.
You are required to appear in criminal court in the County the offense occurred.
Your driver’s license is revoked.
The process between your license and the criminal case are totally independent of one another. You must file a lawsuit against the State of Minnesota to request to have your driving privileges reinstated or rescinded. You have 60 days from the date of the revocation/stop to challenge this issue or it will be forever lost and waived. It is critical to have this issue examined immediately.
Why two processes? There are three primary differences.
A DUI is a criminal offense which entitles you to have constitutional rights. The burden of proof in a criminal case is proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Your license revocation action is considered a civil issue. The burden of proof in a civil case is a preponderance of evidence which is easier for the State to prove.
The State is represented by a City or County Prosecutor in the criminal case. The State is represented by the Attorney General’s office regarding challenged to license revocations.
In the criminal process you have the right to a court trial or a jury trial. In the civil or license revocation process you can only try the case to a judge.
The criminal process changes per county but at a minimum you are entitled to a first appearance, pre-trial and trial. Depending on your blood, urine or breath alcohol level will determine the seriousness of the charge. Your prior history of drinking offenses and other factors can also aggravate the seriousness of the offense.
There are three levels of seriousness, Misdemeanor, Gross Misdemeanor and felony. There are four degrees of DUI’s.
If it is your first offense usually you will be charged with a 4th Degree DUI (over .08) which has a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine. It is possible to be charged with a 3rd Degree or Gross Misdemeanor offense on your first incident. The most common ways to be charged with a Gross Misdemeanor on your first incident is to have an alcohol test of .16 or above, refuse the test, have a child in the car, have an accident where there is substantial bodily injury, or drive with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more with railroad tracks involved. There are no mandatory jail provisions for 4th Degree DUI offenders.
A 3rd Degree offense has a maximum sentence of 1 year in jail and/or a $3.000.00 fine. Usually you are charged with a 3rd Degree offense if you have had another DUI within 10 years or your license was revoked due to a test of .08 or more within 10 years of the new offense.
If you have two offenses within 10 years there is a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail and 48 hours must be in custody before alternative sentencing options are available (electronic home monitoring, community service, sentence to service).
Additionally, your license is revoked for 1 year and you must have interlock installed in your vehicle to drive and apply for special series plates (whiskey plates).
A 2nd Degree DUI offense has the same maximum sentence as a 2nd Degree offense. 2nd Degree DUI charges occur when there are two prior DUI convictions or alcohol related license revocations within ten years and the current DUI charge. The mandatory minimum for 2nd Degree offenses is 90 days in jail and 30 days must be in custody before alternative sentencing options are available.
Additionally, your license is revoked for 2 or more years and you must have interlock installed in your vehicle to drive and apply for special series plates (whiskey plates). Your vehicle can also be forfeited by the state.
You can also be charged with a 2nd Degree DUI if you have one prior offense within ten years of the current DUI incident and the current DUI incident has an aggravating factor (Over .16, refusal to test, child in car, went through railroad tracks, accident with substantial bodily injury).
Usually the consequences are more severe with regards to the sentence by the judge and/or the conditions placed upon you by the probation department with regards to alcohol use and possession, random testing, treatment, education, alcohol monitoring, etc.
1st Degree DUI offenses are felonies. A person will be charged with a felony offense if they have 3 prior DUI or alcohol related license revocations of their license within 10 years of the current alcohol related incident or if you have ever been convicted of a Felony DUI in the past.
Depending on the number of prior offenses and the facts in the present case will determine how long your license will be revoked, when you are eligible for a limited license (commonly referred to as a work permit), whether you will have to get interlock installed in your vehicle and for how long, and what steps will be necessary to get your driver’s license reinstated.
I am always asked if an attorney is a good idea if they have been charged with a DUI. My answer is very sincere and is usually yes. The reason being is that DUI cases are complicated. The person has been charged with a criminal offense and has had their license revoked. There are two processes involved which is confusing and difficult to navigate. Usual worries are jail, fines, probation, treatment or education, employment, criminal record, license ramifications and insurance rates.
Representing people that have been charged with DUI’s is a very satisfying job. I pride myself in being able to resolve the cases in the best possible way for my clients. I have handled approximately 3,000 DUI cases and am very experienced in the area. Each case is different, however, and requires an independent analysis. What I bring to the equation is this: I have an excellent reputation, I am great at my job, I’m experienced and accessible, I am familiar with all of the prosecutors and judges in the seven-county metro area, I’m reasonably priced and I truly care about my clients.
Each case is unique like a snowflake. Each case must be thoroughly examined and analyzed to get the best possible result, whether that be dismissal, reduction of the charges, or mitigating the sentence. Anderson Law Office offers its clients the best of both worlds: strong, aggressive representation along with the personalized attention, responsiveness, and concern that your case deserves. Scott L. Anderson strives to provide the highest quality legal representation while recognizing the need for a practical approach to litigation. Anderson Law Office is a law firm that is honest, caring, prompt, capable, prepared, and qualified to represent you in your legal challenges.
Critical to Analyze the Case
It is critical to have representation in a DUI case. You have criminal charges against you, your license is revoked and you need an experienced DUI attorney to analyze and research the issues in an effort to defend your rights. Please call Scott L. Anderson immediately to discuss your case.