A DWI Charge Doesn't Have to Haunt You

Consult a DWI lawyer in St. Paul, MN

Talk to a DUI defense attorney in St. Paul, Minneapolis today if you've been charged with a DUI. Marsden Criminal Defense can handle your case whether you are in St. Paul, Minneapolis, or Twin City. Were you stopped by law enforcement unjustly? Was the breathalyzer test administered correctly? These are just a few of the questions that Brian Marsden will ask to build your defense.

Call Marsden Criminal Defense to schedule your free initial consultation with a DUI defense attorney in St. Paul, Minnesota.

What are the penalties for a DUI conviction?

What are the penalties for a DUI conviction?

Did you know that DUI is the most frequently prosecuted crime in the United States? Penalties for a DUI conviction can follow you around the rest of your life. You could be facing:

  • Hefty fines- if you're convicted of a DUI charge, you could be ordered to pay up to $3,000.
  • Jail time-you could be spending up to 90 days in jail.
  • License suspension-your license could be revoked for up to a year.

Take your defense seriously!  Don’t take it sitting down.  A qualified DWI lawyer can help. Brian Marsden has decades of experience, and he'll work hard to prevent a conviction, and to preserve and maintain your driving privileges and keep you out of jail.

Schedule an appointment with a DWI lawyer in St. Paul, MN.

Minnesota DWI Frequently Asked Questions

These questions and answers are specific to cases arising in the State of Minnesota.

If you were arrested somewhere else, consult with a person who is knowledgeable about the procedures in that state.

My driving was fine, can the officer pull me over?
The officer needs an articulable reasonable suspicion to believe you committed, were committing, or were about to commit, a crime.  If the judge finds the officer did not have a basis to make the stop, that may be a defense in court and can get your case dismissed.

What should I say if I'm stopped by a police officer and he asks me if I've been drinking?
You are not required to answer potentially incriminating questions.  A polite “I would like to speak with an attorney before I answer any questions” is an excellent reply. 

Do I have to take field sobriety tests?
A person who is stopped by police and is being investigated as a possible drunk driver does not have to submit to field sobriety tests.  Again, I would like to speak with an attorney before I submit to any testing.” However, the officer will normally arrest someone who refuses to take those tests.  So you go to jail to help your case.  Don’t worry, the cop would have arrested you anyway, most likely.

What is the purpose of the follow the penlight with the eyes test?
This is the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN) test.  The officers are trained to detect the involuntary jerking of the eye, which may, among other causes, by caused by consumption of alcohol.  If officers detect three clues in each eye, a lack of smooth pursuit, nystagmus at maximum deviation, and nystagmus prior to 45 degrees, they are trained to testify that it is likely the person was above a .08 body alcohol content (BAC).

I thought I did well on the field tests, why was I arrested?
If you did do well on the field tests, this may be a defense at trial.  In many cases, people misunderstand the directions or do not know what the officer is looking for.  The field tests most commonly administered by officers are approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for the investigation of drunk driving cases. 
On the follow the penlight with the eyes test, the officer is looking for an involuntary jerking of the eyes.  You cannot feel this. On the one leg stand test, the officer is looking for putting the foot down before 30-1000, hopping, swaying, and raising the arms more than six inches.

Should I agree to take a chemical test?
Yes!  Generally speaking, you should always take the test.  However, prior to making that decision you should do your very best to obtain a lawyer’s advise and be diligent about seeking counsel prior to testing.  A phone and phone books will be made available.

Do I have a right to an attorney before deciding whether to take a breath test?
In Minnesota, a person has the absolute right to a reasonable amount of time to speak with a lawyer prior to deciding whether to take or refuse the breath test for alcohol, so long as it does not unreasonably delay the testing process.  The test must be taken within two hours of apprehension.

Can I elect a blood test instead of a breath test?
In Minnesota, the driver must take the breath test if it is the test offered.  However, if blood or urine are offered then a choice of tests must be made available.  If the driver or other people are injured and taken to a hospital, is unconscious or incapable of refusing the test, the officer may direct medical personnel to withdraw a blood sample.

The officer never read me my rights, what can we do about it?
You probably were advised of your right to take or refuse a chemical test for alcohol and the penalties for failing or refusing the breath test.  You are probably asking about a 5th Amendment “Miranda” warning about the right to remain silent and to have the assistance of a lawyer.  Often, in drunk driving cases, they do not give that advice.  The only consequence is that the prosecution cannot use any of your answers to questions asked by the police after the arrest.

Why did I receive more than one ticket charging me with drunk driving?
Minnesota has five different offenses that fall within the generic term - drunk driving: driving while under the influence of alcohol, driving under the influence of alcohol with a test result of .08 or more, driving under the influence of alcohol with a test result of .20 or more, driving while under the influence of controlled dangerous substances and test refusal.

Why is the officer allowed to take my license if I am presumed innocent?
The law is designed to protect the public by immediately confiscating licenses of alleged drunk drivers.  This is not fair, but courts justify this by saying it is not punishment but is for the protection of the public.  Unless your license or privilege to drive is already suspended, the officer will usually issue you a 7 day temporary license that allows you to drive prior to for a week.  The administrative license suspension proceeding or Implied Consent hearing may have some bearing on the disposition of charges in court and you might be able to get you license temporarily reinstated.

Can't I represent myself?  Why do I need a lawyer?
Abraham Lincoln once observed that a person who represents himself has a fool for a client.  Although you can represent yourself, it is usually not a very good idea.  The drunk driving area of the law is very complex and you need someone who knows “the ropes” to get you the best possible result.   Imagine playing a game of chess without knowing the rules.  You are not likely to do well.

What is the punishment for drunk driving?
Generally speaking, a conviction for a first offense may involve a fine, a license suspension or restriction, attendance at a DUI education course for a period of time, and supervised probation for one to four years.  A short jail sentence may or may not be required; for a second or third offense, it often will.  Additional punishment may involve community service, chemical dependency treatment,  AA meetings, and MADD victim impact meetings.   On a second or subsequent offense, the Department of Public Safety may seek to take the driver's license a second time, after the court proceeding is over, although the courts do not call this punishment.  Jail time is imposed generally on a second offense.  The range can be from one weekend to 30 days in jail with the possibility of electronic home monitoring.  A third conviction usually carries a 90 day jail sentence, with work release and possibly some electronic home monitoring and with supervised probation upon release.

Why should I take classes before I go to court if I am presumed innocent?
Yes, you are presumed innocent.  But if after trial, the judge or jury finds you guilty, the sentencing proceeding follows, usually immediately.  If you want the judge to give you a break or not impose a jail sentence if you are a subsequent offender, it is wise to do something before you get to court to convince the judge to impose the sentence you want.

What about the alcohol interlock device?
The alcohol interlock allows many person charged with DWI to get back to driving right away without the hard revocation period that would otherwise keep you off the road for months at a time.  There are numerous vendors who rent the alcohol interlock device which requires that you periodically (every 20 minutes) furnish a breath sample to operate your vehicle.

Are there any defenses to drunk driving?
YES! depending upon the circumstances of your case.  Mr. Marsden has won many trials resulting in the DWIs going away.  He would love to fight for you to make yours go away too!