Given the immense risk of danger to oneself and others on the road, charges for driving under the influence (DUI) are highly regulated and aggressively enforced. A seasoned Duluth DUI lawyer could help you understand your rights when stopped by the police on suspicion of drunk driving and what penalties you may face upon conviction.
Criminal convictions leave a record and can affect your quality of life for years to come. If are facing DWI charges, an experienced defense attorney could work to protect your rights and get you the best possible outcome for your case.
Implied Consent Laws and Roadside Testing
When making a traffic stop on suspicion of drunk driving, it is typical for a police officer to ask a driver to submit to various testing to determine their blood alcohol content. Minnesota has adopted what is known as an “Implied Consent Law,” which states that drivers impliedly give their consent to certain testing by obtaining a license. This law makes it illegal to refuse specific tests, and it is critical to know which ones are required.
The Right to Refuse Roadside Testing
Roadside tests can help an officer evaluate whether an individual is intoxicated and should be placed under arrest. Such testing can include standing on one leg, walking in a straight line, or even a preliminary breath test. These tests occur before the arrest when Implied Consent Laws generally do not apply. As such, drivers have a right to refuse a field sobriety test.
Refusing Chemical Tests is Illegal
Once an officer makes an arrest, it becomes a crime to refuse a breath, blood, or urine test, although a warrant is necessary for blood and urine tests. These chemical tests occur at the police station or a hospital. Penalties for refusal of these types of tests can include up to one year of revocation of a driver’s license.
Anyone pulled over in Duluth under suspicion of drunk driving should call a DUI lawyer immediately. Officers are required to give individuals reasonable time to reach out to an attorney, who could further advise them on their rights regarding testing.
Penalties for DUI Convictions
Courts can impose a range of penalties for DWI convictions. These penalties depend on many factors, including BAC levels, prior convictions, or the presence of a minor in the vehicle. Individuals in Duluth who are facing DUI charges should speak with a skilled lawyer to learn more about what penalties might apply to their case.
Drunk driving charges range from first to fourth degree. Fourth-degree charges are the lowest, resulting in up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. First-degree charges, on the other hand, can result in up to seven years in prison and/or a fine of $14,000. Aggravating factors, such as prior offenses, can increase the penalty in all drunk driving cases.
In addition to time behind bars and fines, there can be several administrative penalties for drunk driving. These types of penalties can include license suspension or revocation, forfeiture of a vehicle, or license plate impoundment. Additionally, insurance premiums can increase drastically upon a DWI conviction.
Call a Duluth DUI Attorney Today
Getting pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving can be a stressful experience, and criminal convictions can affect the rest of your life. It is vital that you know your rights, including your right to contact an attorney.
A Duluth DUI lawyer can help you through the traffic stop and any ensuing litigation. Call an attorney to learn more about your rights regarding intoxicated driving charges and to discuss your legal options.