What are your options with a DWI charge? More than you may realize.
Brent S. Schafer knows how to challenge the charges against you. He mounts a defense for the Department of Public Safety’s driver license revocation hearing and the criminal trial that follows. After collecting evidence from a number of different sources, Mr. Schafer helps you construct a well-reasoned and solid defense. Sources may include dash-cam videos, cellphone video, police reports, citations, statements from witnesses (including any passengers in your vehicle) and chemical tests results. This assembled evidence creates an accurate picture of what really took place. As an experienced criminal defense attorney in Minnesota, Brent Schafer analyzes these data and puts them to work in your case.
DUI/DWI and test refusal punishments and penalties.
During the criminal trial that follows DUI or Test Refusal charges, your guilt or innocence is determined based upon the evidence presented by the prosecuting attorney and the challenges to that evidence presented by your defense lawyer. That’s why a highly experienced defense lawyer gives you the best chance to prevail in court, potentially resulting in dropped or reduced charges. If convicted in Minnesota, you face serious penalties:
First offense/Fourth degree DWI — For your first offense, punishment can include 90 days in jail, $1,000 in fines and up to a 90-day driver’s license revocation.
Second offense/Third degree DWI — A second charge in Minnesota is punishable by up to one year in jail, $3,000 in fines and minimum one-year driver’s license revocation. Minnesota Statute requires second time offenders serve a mandatory minimum of 30 days in jail.
Third offense/Second degree DWI — Third-time offenders receive all the penalties associated with a second DUI, plus and minimum one-year driver’s license revocation. Minnesota Statute requires third time offenders serve a mandatory minimum of 90 days in jail. In addition to incarceration and license revocation, third time offenders will face vehicle forfeiture and license plate impoundment.
Fourth offense/First degree DWI — Your fourth offense within 10 years is a felony punishable by up to seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. Felony offenders who are not sent to prison must serve 180 days in jail.
Test Refusal Crimes—Refusal to take a test in Minnesota is currently a criminal offense. In other words, even if a person was under the legal limit or perhaps had no alcohol or illegal drugs in their system, they could still be charged with a serious criminal offense for simply not taking a blood, breath or urine test. A person who refuses to submit to testing will be charged with a gross misdemeanor, even if it is a first offense.
Many aggravating factors can enhance a charge substantially, including your blood alcohol level, whether you refused testing. whether you had a child in the car and whether your actions injured another person.
Choose aggressive representation to fight the charges against you.
When the cards are stacked against you, put an aggressive Dakota and Scott County DWI and DUI lawyer to work for you. Brent S. Schafer has tried more than 30 jury trials to verdict throughout the State of Minnesota and appeared at several hundred court trials and contest motion hearings. He has spent his legal career inside the courtroom and is a proven litigator on cases ranging from traffic violations to homicide. His experience and fearless attitude prove invaluable when challenging the prosecution’s charges or presenting your defense to a jury.
If you are arrested for a DWI.
Most people believe that if they are stopped for a DWI, they have no chance of beating the charge and should simply plead guilty. But, this belief is untrue. Mr. Schafer has had numerous DWI/DUI and test-refusal cases dismissed or charges reduced after an aggressive challenge to the procedures used by the police prior to, during and after the arrest. The answers to several important questions will help determine the outcome of your case:
- Was there a legitimate reason for stopping your vehicle?
- Were you actually driving?
- Was there probable cause to arrest you for DWI/DUI?
- Were the tests given to you on the roadside administered properly?
- Did you get a chance to speak with a lawyer?
- Was the blood/urine/breath test given to you accurate and administered properly?
- Was there a warrant obtained before any blood or urine test?
- Did you consume alcohol or drugs after driving?
- Were you given an opportunity to get your own independent BAC test?
- Did you actually refuse testing?
- If you refused testing, was there a reason?
A successful challenge to one of these issues can result in the dismissal of the charges or a significant reduction in the charges and penalties.
Minnesota DUI and Test Refusal FAQs.
For quick answers to your questions, the Schafer Law Firm, P.A. provides the following frequently asked questions and answers:
- What is BAC?
- Do I have to take a test?
- What happens if I refuse testing?
- Will I go to jail for my first DUI?
- Do I really need a DWI defense lawyer?
- Is Minnesota a zero-tolerance state?
- Is there a different BAC limit for commercial drivers?
- What is a field sobriety test?
- What should I do if I am stopped for a DUI?
- What is an implied consent law?
What is BAC? YourBAC, or blood alcohol content, determines whether the state charges you with a DUI or DWI. In Minnesota, the BAC limit is .08 percent. If your BAC is .08 percent or higher, police may arrest you for driving under the influence, or DUI.
Will I go to jail for my first DWI? It depends on many factors including the facts of your case, the evidence against you and the defense lawyer you hire. That being said, first-time DWI offenders face 90 days in jail and/or $1,000 in fines.
Do I really need a DWI defense lawyer? You are not required by law to hire a defense lawyer. However, retaining a skilled attorney to represent you can greatly increase your chances of having the charges against you reduced or possibly dropped. To find out more about attorney Brent S. Schafer, visit the firm’s client testimonials page.
Is Minnesota a zero-tolerance state? Yes. Anyone under age 21 caught drinking while driving faces misdemeanor penalties and a license suspension.
Is there a different BAC limit for commercial drivers? Yes. The BAC limit for commercial drivers is .04 percent.
What is a field sobriety test? A field sobriety test, or FST, is used by police officers to determine if a driver is inebriated. FSTs are known to be highly inaccurate.
What should I do if I am stopped for a DWI? Remain calm, cooperate with police and remain respectful at all times. Remember that you are not required to perform any Field Sobriety Test. However, if you choose not to take a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT), you will be arrested. This is allowed under Minnesota Statute. Once at the police station, contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer before agreeing to take any blood/breath or urine test.
What is an implied consent law? An implied consent law means that by law, you have consented to have your BAC measured by police if you are stopped for a committing a DWI.