Being arrested in Minnesota—well, anywhere actually—is not only stressful but can also be scary. Here are some tips about what to do—and what not to do—if you do get stopped and/or arrested in Minnesota for driving while intoxicated.
First and foremost, pursuant to the Minnesota Implied Consent law (Minn. Stat. 169A.51), you have the right—albeit a limited one—to consult with a DWI lawyer prior to submitting any tests. To exercise this right, ask the officer if you can call an attorney.
What to do if you are stopped for DWI
Despite your brain likely wanting you to talk ad nauseum if stopped by police for drunk driving, you should ignore these urges and avoid giving any inculpatory statements. Always insist upon your right to speak to an attorney before answering any questions or making any statements, signing any documents, submitting to any field sobriety or blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing, consenting to any search, and providing any type of physical evidence.
It is all right to provide the officer basic information about yourself such as name, address, date of birth, driver’s license number, and insurance information for his/her reports, but never discuss any facts concerning your alleged DWI that can be used against you in court later. Additionally, instead of saying something along the lines of “I don’t recall,” it is far better to inform the officer that you will not make any statements without your criminal lawyer present. It is also critical to remember that many officers are equipped with video recording devices, so everything you say or do may be captured on camera and can be used in court against you.
Additionally, make sure that you:
- Use your turn signal when pulling over
- Remain calm
- Be courteous, cooperative, and polite at all times
- Think before you speak or act
- Have your driver’s license, registration, and poof of current and valid insurance readily available
- Obey the officer’s commands provided they are reasonable, such as frisking you for weapons and other contraband and the like.
Finally, do tell the police if you have a weapon in the vehicle and if you have a valid concealed carry permit. Let the officer know where your firearm is located, keep you hands in plain view, and don’t make any sudden movements. You don’t want to spook an armed officer. Just let him/her give you instructions.
What not to do
If stopped and/or arrested by police for DWI, never:
- Provide false information
- Fidget or make sudden movements especially with your hands
- Physically resist or run from the police
- Talk too much (e.g. trying to talk yourself out of a ticket or arrest) especially if you are intoxicated
- Touch the officers in any way
- Think that it’s too soon to speak to an attorney
What to do if you are arrested for DWI in Minnesota
If you are subsequently arrested, be polite and cooperate with officers at the station/jail. Things will go much easier if you do. Additionally, if you haven’t already, do invoke your Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination and ask to consult with an attorney.
Of course, however, the best recommendation is to simply not drink and drive, but if you do—and are caught—retaining the services of an experienced and knowledgeable DWI attorney is the next best thing.