As an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer and Twin Cities DWI Attorney, I know clients have questions – lots and lots of questions. Some of the most common are addressed here; however, feel free to contact me 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 651.234.1165 or to discuss what’s on your mind.  Remember, no two cases are ever the same, and what might be the “right” answer for one person can be the totally “wrong” answer for someone else.   

Q: I’ve been arrested for DWI/Drunk Driving, what should I do now?

A: If you’re stopped by the police – you have the right to speak with a Minnesota DWI Lawyer and to have him or her present when any questioning takes place.  Ideally, you should assert this Constitutional right in a respectful, polite and courteous manner.  Remember, you have no obligation to say anything to the police – except to provide them with your identification information. You don’t have to make their case for them. 

If the police have you stopped alongside the road, do you really think that that officer has your best interests at heart?  When he or she talks about making things “easier” ask yourself this: “easier for who?” Easier for the ones with the full force of the government and its unlimited resources behind them; or you – the unrepresented object of a full-on criminal investigation?  Now, while your lack of cooperation might result in your being taken into custody, think of it this way — you will have prevented yourself from giving the government any incriminating evidence.  When you get to the station, tell the officer that you want to speak with a lawyer before you submit to any further testing of your blood, breath or urine. Remember – DO NOT answer any questions about where you were going (or coming from,) whether you were drinking, what you were drinking or how much, or whether you feel the effects of any alcohol. Let an experienced Twin Cities DWI Attorney be your voice.

Q: Minnesota Misdemeanors, Gross Misdemeanor & Felonies – what’s the difference?

A: There are three levels of criminal charges in Minnesota. The lowest is Misdemeanors which carry a maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and/or a $1000 fine. Next are Gross Misdemeanors; they carry a maximum consequence of one-year in jail and/or a $3000 fine. The most serious offense one can commit is a Felony. When it comes to criminal penalties, felony-level offenses often have specific punishments which are doled out according to statute. Generally speaking, a Felony sentence will be one where the jail consequence is greater than one-year.  There are also infractions called – Petty Misdemeanors; these are usually low level offenses like Traffic Tickets – where fines are the only consequence the Court can impose. 

When it comes to DWIs/Drunk Driving, each level can carry different driver license revocation periods and reinstatement requirements.

Q: Do I really need a lawyer; can’t I just represent myself?

A: You are always better off – at a minimum – at least speaking to a Twin Cities Criminal Defense and/or DWI Attorney about the facts and circumstances of your case before you take any action on your own.  I offer a free, no-obligation, consultation. Call me at 651.234.1165 we’ll take the time to discuss your case. Then, if you decide to move forward on your own – at least you’ll have a sense of what you can expect whether you hire a lawyer or go it decide to go it alone. That being said, an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer understands the intricacies of how the system works and can – more times than not – help you to avoid the pitfalls that exist in every criminal prosecution.

Q: What can you do for me that I can’t do for myself?  

A: An experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer can guide you through the often confusing criminal court process. An attorney may also be able to get you a more favorable result for your case. As a former prosecutor myself, I am intimately aware of the government’s tactics, schemes and motivations. Knowing as I do “how” and “why” they act like they do, I can work to get your case dismissed, build a defense that forces the government to compromise or (if you so choose) fight these matters at trial and make them prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Q: What is an arraignment or first appearance – and what happens?

A: At a first appearance, you’ll be made aware of the charges against you. The judge may also impose certain conditions of release which you’ll be ordered to comply up – until your case is concluded; these could include bail, limitations on who you can and cannot have contact with, as well as restrictions on your use of drugs and alcohol – including random testing.   

Q: Is bail always imposed?

A: Depending on what type of charges you are facing, you might have to bail out before you can be released from custody. If you are charged with a Gross Misdemeanor or Felony, the Court must set some or conditions under which you will be released upon. If you’ve been charged with a crime, and have not been to court yet, I’d suggest that you take the time to contact a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer. That person can advise you about your bail situation; he or she can argue for a reduced bail or no bail at all, explore alternative conditional release options or arrange for a bonding agent to help get you released.

Q: What’s an Omnibus hearing?

A: At this stage in the court process (in Gross Misdemeanor and Felony cases) you and your attorney will have the chance to raise arguments regarding violations of your Constitutional rights – such as whether the police had the right to arrest you, ask for a statement, search you or your home.  If you have an Omnibus Hearing scheduled, and you have yet to speak with an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense and/or DWI Lawyer, you should contact one immediately to discuss your case.  At a minimum, you need to be aware that if you fail to bring up certain issues, at this stage in your case, you may never have a chance to challenge them again.

Q: What’s a Pre-Trial hearing?

A: In Misdemeanor cases, the court will schedule a Pre-Trial hearing for the purposes of allowing you, your attorney and the government to discuss settlement options or to inform the Court of any arguments that you wish to present. If you have a Pre-Trial hearing scheduled in your case but you are not sure about your rights, contact an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney. As with an Omnibus Hearing, these can often be a more important proceedings than the trial itself. 

Q: Should I just enter a plea on a 1st time DWI since everyone gets the same deal anyway?

A: In a word (or two): H*ll – No! Although the decision to settle your case stays and remains with you throughout the criminal court process, if you simply enter a guilty plea – without first fully exploring your options with a Twin Cities Criminal Defense or Minnesota DWI Lawyer – you will never have an opportunity to challenge or investigate your case. 

As a former prosecutor, I know that in the early stages of a case that the state’s attorney generally knows very little about your file – usually they only know what the cops have told him or her. Often, that is a very biased, slanted appreciation of the events that lead to your arrest – only those things that point to your guilt.  Little to no information about your innocence or possible explanations about “your side” ever make into those documents.  And to be honest with you, more often than not, the government only wants to hear from you if it will help them convict you.

Now, an experienced Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney can advocate on your behalf.  He or she can get your side of the story out there – without making the government’s case for them – and they can help get you the results you want.  Heck, if after all of that you still want to plead guilty, a Twin Cities DWI Attorney can help structure a settlement that takes into account your desires and your point of view. 

In my experience as a prosecutor, the most effective advocates were not unrepresented defendants – making their own arguments. Rather, it was those parties – the ones represented by experienced Minnesota DWI attorneys – who got the best chance to get their side of the story out there for consideration – their cares and concerns were effectively addressed and it often resulted in them getting the best deals plea bargain deals and/or sentences. 

Q: What does “Implied Consent” mean?

A: The term “Implied Consent” refers to a specific aspect of Minnesota’s DWI Law. Essentially, because your driver’s license is viewed – not as a right but rather –  as a privilege it can be revoked   immediately upon a test result indicating an alcohol concentration in your system of .08 or more. This revocation will occur automatically and you (or your Twin Cities DWI Lawyer – if choose to hire one) must file a petition with the Court in order to contest it. The State of Minnesota assumes that by driving on public roadway that you just give your consent to provide a blood, breath or urine sample for testing in DWI cases. An experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney can file your petition for you and raise the proper arguments to help you get your driver’s license back.

Q: What goes on my record?

A: A criminal conviction will become part of your record once you enter a guilty plea or once you’re found guilty of a crime. In a Minnesota DWI/Drunk Driving case, a conviction and/or DWI-related driver’s license revocation can serve as grounds to charge you with a higher degree of DWI offense – should you ever be cited again. The same can hold true for certain assault convictions and with certain driving offenses. Also, different sentencing provisions can impact how a conviction will affect your record.

As you can see, criminal charges often mean more than jail and fines. If you’re convicted of a crime, that is going to touch upon every facet of your life – and your future. If you’ve been charged with a criminal offense – no matter what the classification – it truly is in your best interest to speak with a Minnesota Criminal Defense Lawyer.  Call me today at 651.234.1165 to set up your free, no obligation consultation or fill out the form below and I’ll get back to you immediately.

I know how the government works because I worked for the government. Before you do anything that you might regret, contact an attorney today.

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