Question

What is the process for DWI defense in Minnesota?

Sponsored Answer
Answer

In general, there are two distinct and independent paths in DWI cases: The civil case and the criminal case. The criminal case involves potential fines, jail time and other legal penalties, whereas the civil case involves license revocations, license cancellations and vehicle forfeitures.

It is critical to note that each of these processes operates independently from the other and can proceed at the same time. So, when we represent a client in a DWI case, we are dealing with both the civil and the criminal side simultaneously.

The Civil Case

The civil case is a completely different procedure from the criminal case. It will involve collateral consequences that can include license revocation, license cancellations and even vehicle forfeitures.

The most important difference in the civil case is that you have to proactively assert your rights, or you will lose them. In criminal cases, you are innocent until proven guilty, and the court cannot deprive you of anything without due process of law. On the civil side, the default position is reversed. You will lose your license and possibly your vehicle unless you file the appropriate petitions and preserve the right to fight it.

On the civil side, if you don’t act very quickly, bad things will happen.

It is important to note that the process can be complicated. You should not simply go to the DMV and try to figure it out. And do not assume that a not-guilty verdict outcome or outright dismissal of the criminal case will reverse the administrative process involving your driving privileges. In some cases, we can get driving privileges reinstated before the criminal proceedings have finished, but either way, you need an attorney to walk you through the process, and you need to act fast.

The Criminal Case

The criminal case does not require immediate action to preserve your right to defend yourself in the same way the civil case does. However, it is important to get in touch with an attorney as soon as possible on the criminal side, as well.

  • The first hearing

In most DWI defense cases, the person accused will have to appear in court pretty early on in the process. For low-level misdemeanors, your attorney can likely appear on your behalf, but anything higher will likely require your presence.

At the first appearance, we will have to deal with issues surrounding bail, put in a request for all evidence from the police and set the date for the next hearing. The evidence from the police can include audio/visual recordings, the police report, blood-alcohol testing results, etc.

  • Preparing your defense

Once we get the evidence from the police, we will make a plan for your defense.

In some cases, it is best to plea to a lesser charge and accept whatever penalties that charge would bring. Usually, this approach is used if the evidence is strong and you are likely going to be convicted of something. If we know we can’t win at trial against the charges levied, it is better to accept a lesser charge.

In cases where the evidence is not so strong, or if there are obvious errors or rights violations that took place during the arrest, we can take a more aggressive approach. Depending on the circumstances, we could seek to have the charges dropped or the case dismissed. If that fails, we can fight the charges aggressively in the courtroom.

  • The second hearing

This is where we either enter the plea and move forward or fight the case. Based on the evidence and the details of the case, we will look at the best approach for you and make sure you get the best possible defense.

In general, the criminal DWI case only involves a couple of hearings and lasts a couple of months.

If you have been charged with DWI in Minnesota, it is critical to talk with a lawyer right away to protect your driving privileges on the civil side and protect your rights on the criminal side.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

Other Answers By Matthew T. Martin

Photo of Matthew T. Martin

Will I have to register as a sex offender if I am convicted of a sexual offense in Minnesota?

This is one of the most common questions we hear when an individual or their family member is arrested for a sex …

Sponsored answer by Matthew T. Martin

Photo of Matthew T. Martin

What does “Criminal Sexual Conduct” mean under Minnesota law?

Criminal Sexual Conduct refers broadly to rape, sexual contact with minors, sex with vulnerable adults and other …

Sponsored answer by Matthew T. Martin

Other Answers About Criminal Law

Photo of Bernard J. Brown

How Do I Decide Whether To Go To Trial For A Criminal Case In Pennsylvania?

The decision whether to go to trial for a criminal case isn’t always based on innocence. That may be a …

Sponsored answer by Bernard J. Brown

Photo of James L. Riotto

Can I Be Arrested For Marijuana Possession In New York?

New Yorkers age 21 and older can now legally possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and up to 24 grams of concentrated …

Sponsored answer by James L. Riotto

Photo of Jason M. Melton

How Do I know If My Florida Criminal Defense Attorney Is Good?

 There are many good criminal defense attorneys, but there are four key factors in determining which attorney …

Sponsored answer by Jason M. Melton

Call Me
612-351-1787

To: Matthew T. Martin

Super Lawyers: Potential Client Inquiry

Required fields are marked with an asterisk (*).

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this web site is intended to convey general information. It should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. It is not an offer to represent you, nor is it intended to create an attorney-client relationship. The use of the internet or this contact form for communication is not necessarily a secure environment. Contacting a lawyer or law firm email through this service will not create an attorney-client relationship, and information will not necessarily be treated as privileged or confidential.

Page Generated: 0.88429093360901 sec