What Happens After Your DWI Arrest in Minnesota (Part A)

If you are arrested for a DWI, you may face serious penalties that include fines, a drivers' license revocation, license plate impoundment, vehicle forfeiture and the possibility for jail time. You may be able to fight your DWI charge to avoid these penalties. Therefore, it is important to know what happens after a DWI, and what will be required of you. If you have questions about how to handle your charge, you can get the professional advice of a lawyer.

At the Scene of Your DWI Arrest

After you have been pulled over under the suspicion of a DWI, you may be asked to take several roadside field sobriety tests. You also may be asked to take a preliminary breathalyzer test. The results of these tests, with the exception of the preliminary breath test may be used as evidence in the course of your DWI trial. While you may refuse these tests, you still may be taken to the police station for further questioning and/or testing.

At the police station you will be read your Implied Consent rights prior to being asked to submit to further testing of your alcohol level.  You have a right to contact an attorney to discuss whether or not you should take the test requested.

If you are asked to take a breath test at the station it is a crime to refuse to take the test.  Alternatively, you may be asked for a blood or urine sample rather than a breath test.  You can refuse one either blood or urine but not both, meaning you have a choice as to which test you want to take.

After you have provided the police with a sample of your blood, breath, or urine, you have a right to a second test of your own choosing.  You must make your own arrangements for this testing.

If you refuse to take a test at the police station, you will be charged with refusal, and face enhanced penalties for refusing to take the test.

Once you have provided the sample of breath, blood, or urine you will be read your Miranda rights and questioned further.  Other than providing your name and address you should politely decline to answer any further questions on advice of counsel.

After Your DWI Arrest: The Arraignment

After you have been booked, the court will schedule a date for your arraignment or depending on the county that date may follow in the mail. Depending on the level of your charge you may or may not be released that night.  If you are not released you may be held for a bail hearing before a judge.

At the arraignment, the court will advise you of your rights. If you hire a lawyer, you may not have to attend the arraignment. Your attorney can advise you of these rights outside of court. 

Your Pre-Trial Meeting

About six weeks after your arraignment, your lawyer will meet with the prosecutor to discuss your DWI charge. This is called the pre-trial hearing. At this meeting, your attorney may try to negotiate a settlement. If no settlement can be reached, then you may choose to fight your DWI charge. This means that your case will go to trial.

Continue to Part B