The perfect Minnesota day at the lake up north can quickly go south if you fail a Breathalyzer test and end up charged with a DUI. While how much is too much is a gray-area question that people ultimately decide for themselves, the fact remains that Minnesota employs some of the strictest DUI laws in the country.
Aside from facing jail time and heavy fines, in some cases, state law allows authorities to permanently take the vehicle you were driving at the time of your arrest. As if that weren’t severe enough, they can also immediately revoke your driver’s license, which can make it extremely difficult to do everyday tasks such as going to work, picking up kids, or ironically, attend mandatory court obligations.
Being charged with a crime is often a humiliating, anxiety-ridden burden on a person’s everyday life. If you think about it, every lawyer’s website talks about how they’ll fight for you and how much they know about the law. How can you tell the difference?
By making use of the free test drive most attorneys offer.
Despite the fact that you may feel emotional over the situation, take the time to research the DUI process, make a few calls and ask some questions from your research. It's likely you'll figure out which attorney will actually fight for you by how helpful they are in a free consultation.
Under Minnesota state law, your license can be suspended within days of your arrest — a stark contrast to most criminal penalties that don’t get enforced until after a conviction. Authorities start the suspension process by giving you a notice of revocation, and seven days later, you are no longer allowed to drive.
The length of the suspension depends on the circumstances of your case and your prior criminal history, leaving a wide range of points for a DUI lawyer to argue on your behalf and potentially help allow for you to keep driving while your case is pending.
The main caveat is that from the effective date of your loss of driving privileges, that is, seven days after you receive your notice of revocation, you only have 30 days to challenge the suspension.
If you fail to file a challenge within 30 days, you are subject to whatever length of revocation the authorities decide.
One of the most staggering penalties of being charged with a DUI is vehicle forfeiture. Typically reserved for first or second degree DUI cases, Minnesota state law allows for authorities to permanently take your car from you no matter its value or how much you have left to pay off on it.
It is even possible to forfeit a vehicle you don’t own. While there are common defenses that help protect owners whose vehicles were being driven at the time of a DUI arrest, the innocence of the owner still has to be argued as a matter of law.
Forfeiting a vehicle is often an unconscionable loss of assets, and you only have 60 days from the day authorities first seize your vehicle, to file a challenge. If your DUI attorney fails to file a challenge within the 60-day deadline, you will lose all ownership rights to the vehicle, no matter what.
Deadlines imposed in DUI cases are serious and absolute. If you fail to file challenges within the time allotted, you forever forfeit your chance to challenge. Unlike typical criminal cases, the state does not have to prove its case to impose license revocation and vehicle forfeiture. Consequences happen quickly, are automatic and can be quite severe.
Weston Law Office helps people in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the greater Twin Cities suburbs navigate the legal process after a DUI arrest. A short, free phone call or email can lead to us helping you keep driving privileges, reduce penalties and protect your vehicle from forfeiture. The only risk is not getting the advocate you need.