Understanding DUI – What Do I Do Now?

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Maybe you’ve gone out to celebrate with a few friends at a local restaurant in Minneapolis and had a few drinks; or maybe you had a couple of beers at home and decide to pick up dinner. The last thing you expect is to be pulled over for a DUI but the fact of the matter is you don’t even have to be driving erratically to be pulled over.

Why am I Being Pulled Over?

There are a few different scenarios that can lead to you being arrested for driving while under the influence. The first is because a police officer sees you driving erratically. He will throw on his lights and maybe even his siren, signaling for you to slow down. A second reason is because you are approaching a drunk driving checkpoint. Here police officers will check every driver for signs of being drunk.

A more serious reason could be because you caused an accident or were involved in a traffic complication so a police officer pulls you over to investigate the situation. No matter what the reason, you now are in front of a police officer and face being arrested. Even if you know you are legally over the limit, do not try to outrun the cops. This will only lead to more charges.

Pull over as soon as it is safe to, and wait for the police officer to approach your car. Get your license, registration and insurance documents prepared to hand over to the officer. If he suspects you of DUI, he will most likely ask you if you have been drinking. If you have, then it is best to not answer the officer. By saying no, you are lying to the authorities; and by saying yes, you may be admitting to the DUI, so it is best not to say anything at this point. If you don’t answer you will be arrested. This is okay.

The officer will probably ask you to exit your car and may even ask you to perform a field sobriety test. You do not have to comply with this request and you shouldn’t. Field sobriety tests are notoriously fallible. You will be arrested. This is okay.

At this point, if the officer has reasonable suspicion that you are drunk driving, he may decide to arrest you. Do not resist arrest because it will only make the situation worse than it already is. When you are brought into the police station, you will be given a breathalyzer or blood test to measure your blood alcohol level.

If you are under the legal driving limit, then you should be immediately released unless there are other charges pending. Otherwise, your blood alcohol level will be recorded and you may be locked up overnight. Once you are sober you will either be released or held until your arraignment. Again, this depends on the situations involving your arrest.

What Are Your Legal Options?

Depending on your individual situation, your DUI can result in many different ways:

  • You can be arrested and kept until your arraignment or bail is posted
  • You can be held without bail option
  • You can be assessed fines, fees and penalties
  • You can be sentenced to additional jail time
  • You can be sentenced to community service
  • You can be sentenced to enter a rehabilitation program for treatment
  • You can be brought into lawsuits for any damages
  • You can have your license suspended or revoked

These are serious charges that should be handled by a DUI defense lawyer, otherwise you can be left with a stiffer penalty than you could. In the situation, not just any attorney should be used. You need someone who has experience in criminal law and has represented drunk driving defendants before.

At Barna, Guzy & Steffen, we have DUI  defense attorneys in Minnesota who are well experienced with this type of charge. In many cases your attorney can negotiate a settlement for less jail time and a reduction in fines. Call our office today and speak with a DUI attorney to advise you on your next steps. You may have made a mistake, but you shouldn’t have to handle this on your own. We offer criminal representation without judgment.

About Jon P. Erickson

Jon Erickson is Of-Counsel at BGS and the Practice Group Leader for Consumer law (PI, Family, Wills/Estate Planning and Criminal Defense). Jon has been the recipient of honors and awards as a criminal defense specialist; including the highest rating given by a national publication, a “Super Lawyer” designation. In January 2012, Jon was named a Certified Criminal Law Specialist by the Minnesota State Bar Association. This certified specialist designation is earned by less than 3% of all Minnesota licensed attorneys.

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