You will not lose your license immediately if arrested for a DWI charge in Minnesota. However, the state may start various legal proceedings to rescind some of your driving privileges. They will then commence other proceedings to convict you of a crime. If convicted of a DWI charge, you will lose your license. The only solution is for you to succeed in your administrative hearing and criminal case to maintain your driving privileges.
In Minnesota, the terms DWI and DUI are used interchangeably. The state changed it because it became a burden for people to prove and differentiate these terms. Let’s look at various issues related to a DWI arrest in Minnesota.
Implied Consent Laws in Minnesota
Implied consent laws state that someone gives their implied consent to various tests, such as urine, blood, and breath tests, once they get in their car to determine if they are driving while intoxicated. This law applies to anyone handling a motor vehicle in the state, and it does not depend on one’s age or race.
Applying the implied consent laws raises various issues during DWI proceedings. Despite the stipulations on the type of tests allowed under this law, some courts find it invasive to ask someone for blood or urine tests. Some defense attorneys may argue that this violates one’s Fourth Amendment rights, especially when the police take blood samples without a warrant.
Most police officers prefer breath tests, but there are limitations. A police officer cannot stop you for any reason and force you to take a breath test without probable cause. They must have irrefutable proof that you are driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Some of the signs they look for include:
- Admitting to driving while drunk
- Seeing an opened bottle of alcohol next to you and smelling it on your breath
- Driving irresponsibly, especially if you are weaving across the road
- Quick acceleration and deceleration of the car
A police officer has your implied consent to administer a breath test if they stop you on the road and have probable cause to conduct the test. Please note that drug free zones could adhere to different rules and regulations if you are suspected to be under the influence of drugs.
Even though you may not immediately lose your driving license, you may lose it after a few days if you do not take various measures. This is due to the relationship between implied consent and administrative suspension. The police have the authority to commence the administrative suspension process based on two situations:
- They can initiate this suspension process if you fail your breath test.
- They may start the administrative suspension process if you refuse to take the required test.
The primary relationship between these two concepts is that the administrative suspension process can only start if you violate the implied consent laws. Let’s look at the administrative suspension process, plate impoundment, and what you should expect when you go for an administrative suspension hearing.
Administrative Suspension Process
One should understand the administrative suspension process to ensure they do not lose their driving license. The police can start this process without initiating your DWI charge. The fascinating thing about the administrative suspension process is that it commences immediately after a police officer arrests you. This is because they will take your license, but it does not mean you can no longer drive your car.
The police officer will give you a temporary driving license and notify you that you have seven days before the suspension is effective. As such, it gives you ample time to appeal this suspension. You are only required to notify the state after commencing the appeal process, thus allowing you to continue driving until the case is solved. You will continue driving even after the seven-day deadline is over.
Your administrative suspension date will be determined, and you must attend without fail. Your arresting officer will describe the events leading to your arrest, and you will also get an opportunity to plead your case. You should have an attorney during the hearing since it is among the strategies people employ to win appeals.
Besides taking your license, a police officer may implement other measures that could affect your driving rights. One of these measures is plate impoundment, which occurs when a police officer takes your car’s license plates after a DWI arrest.
A police officer may take such aggressive measures if your violation is severe. For instance, plate impoundment occurs if you are driving while intoxicated with a minor in the car. A police officer could impound your car’s plates if you have a previous DWI charge.
The administrative suspension hearing also covers plate impoundment cases, but one must follow the required process and adhere to the administrative rules.
What to Expect During Your Administrative Suspension Hearing
You should challenge your suspension immediately after the administrative suspension process starts. You should hire a lawyer to represent you during the hearing. It allows them to evaluate your DWI charge.
One of the things you should expect is that these hearings are limited to a specific contention issue. As such, the hearing cannot deviate from your DWI criminal charge since that part of the case is under the criminal court jurisdiction.
Minnesota has set aside various issues to be considered during the administrative suspension hearing. Here are the issues you should expect:
The state must consider whether the arresting officer had probable cause to perform the DWI breath test. The officer must explain the factors that prompted him to suspect the defendant was driving under the influence.
Nature of the Accident
The officer must explain whether an accident had occurred, prompting him to arrest you for a DWI charge. If that’s the case, they must elaborate on the nature of the accident and if there were any casualties or property damage.
Defendant’s Refusal to Take the Test
The officer must reveal whether you agreed to take the test or not. This is a significant issue in most administrative suspension hearings.
You should expect the police officer to reveal your breath test results if the chemical test is conducted. Minnesota requires people to have a breath concentration of 0.08.
Informing the Defendant About Their Rights
You should expect the police officer to be questioned on whether they explained your rights and whether they highlighted the consequences of refusing a breath test. Ultimately, your lawyer will use these issues to defend your claim based on the police’s statement and the governing laws.
Factors That Determine When You Will Lose Your License After a DWI
Even though you may not lose your license immediately in Minnesota, you may lose it eventually if you are not careful.Here are some factors that can determine if you will lose your license after a DWI charge.
Having Many Past DWI Offenses
You may lose your license if you have many past DWI convictions. For instance, if you are a first-time offender, your license may be revoked for 90 days. This license suspension is applied if you lose your administrative suspension hearing. Your license will be suspended for a year if you refuse to take the breath test and are a first-time offender.
Your license will be suspended for one year if you are a second DWI offender. The suspension may be increased to two years if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.16 and above. For third-time offenders, the state will cancel their driving licenses for three years, especially if they have committed the DWI offense within ten years.
Your license will be canceled for six years if you commit a fourth DWI offense. Ultimately, you will spend the longest time without your right to drive your car.
Causing a Severe Accident
You will probably lose your license if you cause a severe accident, especially if some of the casualties died. This applies even to first-time offenders. Ultimately, you may be charged with various criminal offenses.
Having a High Blood Alcohol Concentration Level
You may lose your license after a DWI charge if your blood alcohol concentration level is very high. Minnesota requires motorists to have a concentration level of 0.08. You will lose your administrative suspension hearing, leading to your license suspension.
Talk to CJB Law Today
You will not lose your license immediately after a DWI charge, especially if you live in Minnesota. You must go through an administrative suspension hearing that determines whether your licenses will be suspended or not. However, if you have many past offenses and you have caused a severe accident, the chances are that your licenses will be revoked.
Your best chance would be to talk to CJB Law. Our attorneys will work round-the-clock collecting irrefutable evidence and preparing an airtight defense to ensure your license is not revoked. Call CJB Law today.