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Defending against DUI charges

In previous blogs posts, we've written about the severe penalties facing Minnesotans who are convicted of drunk driving charges. Depending on the circumstances, a first DUI offense may result in fines of up to $3,000, up to 12 months in jail and a driver's license suspension for up to one year. The fines and penalties increase substantially for subsequent DUI convictions.

U.S. criminal laws protect the rights of individuals who face criminal charges and DUI cases should be thoroughly investigated to protect an individual's rights to due process. DUI cases are often much more complex than people realize and there are a number of factors that may influence the outcome of a case.

In cases where an individual has been arrested and is facing misdemeanor or felony DUI charges, the stakes are high and it's wise to seek the advice and counsel of a criminal defense attorney.

When investigating a DUI case, an attorney will ask a client to provide details related to when he or she was pulled over and questioned by a police officer, how any field sobriety tests were conducted, the outcome of such tests and also whether or not an individual submitted to a Breathalyzer or chemical blood alcohol test. An attorney will also closely review the arresting officer's police report as well as the results of any field sobriety or BAC tests.

Police officers must follow strict procedural laws when conducting traffic stops and taking steps to evaluate possible DUI matters. For example, a police officer must have a valid reason or a reasonable suspicion to believe that an individual may have committed a crime. In cases where no such reasonable suspicion exists, a defense attorney will move to have a case dismissed.

Additionally, while field sobriety and BAC tests are widely used as evidence in DUI cases, their results are not always accurate. An individual may perform poorly on a field sobriety test for reasons other than being intoxicated. Likewise, the results of Breathalyzer and other BAC tests may be disputed.

Source: FindLaw.com, "DUI Arrests," Feb. 27, 2015

Minnesota Department of Public Safety, "DWI Consequences," Feb. 27, 2015

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