Over the years, JR Spangler and Justin Braulick have provided exceptional DUI and criminal defense services to their clients. We are well respected in the courtroom by judges, prosecutors, and other legal professionals in Central Minnesota and throughout the State. Our dedication to upholding ethical standards and integrity in our practice has earned us the respect of our peers as well as our clients. We pride ourselves in working alongside our clients and their families every step of the way.
When arrested for drunk driving, clients often have many questions. Is there going to be jail time involved? Do I need a criminal defense attorney? How much will this cost? Can a DUI charge be overcome? Will I lose my license and if so, for how long? How do I handle the DMV? Knowing your rights and acquiring a qualified attorney will help provide answers and peace of mind before a court hearing occurs.
During a stop for driving under the influence (DUI), the police officer will likely put you through a series of Field Sobriety Tests, including a Preliminary Breath Test (PBT). If these tests give them Probable Cause (PC) to arrest, you will then be placed in their control and taken to the police station to undergo further tests. At this point, they will read you what is known as the Implied Consent advisory to see if you are willing to take a formal test. You will have the option to contact an attorney at this point and be given the choice to take the test.
It is very important to understand two things. First, that PBT you took on the roadside is not a formal test. Second, you do not have a choice of what type of test to take. Most times, they will have you take a breath test, but sometimes, they will offer blood or urine testing. If a breath test is given, the results are known right away and if you are over the legal limit (.08), you will be arrested and charged. If the test is blood or urine, the sample needs to be sent out for testing and you will likely be released shortly after under certain specific conditions and if the results come back over the limit, you will receive a Notice in the mail to appear in Court.
The degree of the charge of DUI will depend on whether or not there are Aggravating Factors involved. These are: (1) How many prior DUI convictions you have had in the previous ten (10) years; (2) Whether or not your Blood Alcohol level exceed twice the legal limit (.16); and (3) Whether or not you had minor children in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
If this is your first DUI and there are no other aggravating factors, you will be charged with a Fourth Degree Misdemeanor DUI. The maximum penalty is ninety (90) days in jail and a fine of $1,000.00 or both. You will also be subject to a license revocation of ninety (90) days.
If you have one (1) prior DUI or either of the other aggravating factors, you will be charged with a Third Degree Gross Misdemeanor DUI. This is a more serious offense. The maximum penalty is one (1) year in jail and a fine of $3,000.00 or both. You will also be subject to a license revocation of up to one (1) year and can be required to surrender the plates of every vehicle registered in your name to have “whiskey” plates put on the vehicles.
If you have two (2) aggravating factors, you will be charged with a Second Degree Gross Misdemeanor DUI. While this still has the same maximum penalties as a Third Degree, it gets more complicated as to how much jail is required. Additionally, your revocation period can be longer and your vehicle you were driving may be forfeited to the State.
If you have three (3) prior DUI offenses in the ten (10) year period, you will then be charged with First Degree Felony DUI. This is an extremely serious charge that can result in prison time, significant fines, extended license revocation and vehicle forfeiture. Further, once you have a Felony DUI, any further DUI charge in the future will be a Felony level no matter how many years go by between offenses.
As stated above, the PBT is not a formal test. It is simply one of the Field Sobriety Tests the police give in order to see if further testing is warranted. If you refuse to take the further test, that is your right. But, it creates a different charge known as Test Refusal.
This is automatically a Third Degree Gross Misdemeanor even if you have no prior offenses or other aggravating circumstances. If you have one prior offense or one of the other aggravating factors, it becomes a Second Degree Gross Misdemeanor. It triggers the same possible consequences that are described above.
As stated above, with a DUI of any level, you will be subject to administrative penalties that include license revocation, plate impoundment and vehicle forfeiture. Which of the penalties apply and for how long are complex and depend upon specific rules and your background. The DMV can also include convictions that are older than ten (10) years.
There are time limits that need to be followed in order to challenge the administrative process. If the rules are not followed, you can waive your right to make the challenge and even if the criminal charges end up being dismissed, to you are found not guilty, you can still end up with an alcohol related driving offense on your record.