Friday night lights: Getting pulled over for DWI

It’s Friday night. The party died down in the wee hours of the morning and you set out for home in your car. It’s been a few hours since you’ve consumed any alcohol and you don’t feel intoxicated. As you cruise down the highway, thinking about the admirer you just met, red and blue lights flash brightly in your review mirror. Your heart leaps into your throat but you pull over to the side.

The officer asks you to get out of the vehicle and performs a sobriety test, which includes blowing into the breathalyzer. You wonder if you should consent. Minnesota has an implied consent law, which means the law assumes any driver who operates a motor vehicle anywhere in the state has consented to a chemical test of breath, blood or urine for determining blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or the presence of other substances just by getting into the vehicle.

Okay, so you decide to take the test. Now what? In Minnesota, a person is considered legally intoxicated if their BAC is .08 or higher. However, everyone’s body metabolizes alcohol a little differently based on certain genetic factors, the amount consumed over a period of time, how it was consumed (sipped or slammed), a person’s overall diet and even their gender.

There are two sides to defending a DWI charge. The administrative aspects affect your driver’s license and insurance rates, while the criminal aspect could impose fines, probation, chemical dependency treatment or jail time. If you have been arrested or cited, call an attorney – regardless of what your BAC is. An attorney can guide you through the process.