Minneapolis DWI Lawyer

Also Serving St. Paul and Bloomington

Are you facing DUI charges in Minnesota? Whether this is a first offense or you’ve been charged with a DUI before, your situation should not be taken lightly. 

Since 1997, the experienced DWI lawyers at Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys have been helping drivers in St. Paul, Bloomington, and Minneapolis stay out of jail. 

Our criminal defense law firm has successfully handled all degrees of DUI charges in multiple jurisdictions. Let us ensure your rights, and your freedom, are protected.

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Facing criminal charges for driving under the influence in the twin cities? Call Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys at (952) 913-1421 .

Road police with flashing lights stopped drunk driver. Young man drinking beer while driving car. Driver under alcohol influence

Our Criminal Defense Lawyers Use Complicated DWI Laws to Your Advantage

It wasn’t that long ago that DUI stops involved little more than a traffic ticket and a hefty fine in the state of Minnesota. In recent years, however, injury and fatality accidents have spurred a crackdown on people who were suspected of driving under the influence. Minnesota’s DUI laws became stricter.

Chemical tests like breathalyzers and blood tests are now more regulated. Lower BAC limits have been established. Harsher administrative sanctions and criminal penalties are imposed. Enhanced enforcement tools, like ignition interlock systems, have become the norm for DUI convictions.  

A DWI lawyer can use these changes to your advantage, often minimizing or eliminating criminal charges.

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Facing criminal charges for driving under the influence in the twin cities?
Call a Minneapolis DWI lawyer at Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys to prepare your criminal defense.
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Your freedom is on the line.
Make sure your rights are protected.
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Changes in DUI Laws Have Opened the Door to Various Defenses

Stricter DUI laws and developments in technology have created numerous vulnerabilities in drunk and drugged driving cases in Minnesota. When you hire our DWI lawyers for your defense, we’ll evaluate the events that happened from the moment the police made contact with you, throughout your interrogation, the investigation, and your arrest. Our criminal defense law firm will:

  • Look for loopholes in the laws
  • Identify law enforcement mistakes
  • Point out procedural inconsistencies
  • Track down other weaknesses in the State’s case
Businessman being handcuffed and placed under arrest.
Criminal Defense lawyers Barry Edwards and Max Keller

Why Hire a DWI Attorney at Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys?

The direct and indirect consequences of a DUI conviction can be detrimental to your future. If you are facing charges as a repeat offender, or you’ve been charged with an aggravated DUI, you could spend many years behind bars if you lose your case. With so much on the line, you need a criminal defense attorney with experience, skill, and a track record of success to defend you. You need Max Keller and Barry S. Edwards on your side.

About Max Keller

Max Keller has more than 25 years of experience in criminal law. Mr. Keller was a prosecutor for the Attorney General’s Office for approximately five years, handling hundreds of DUI cases. Max uses the experience and knowledge he gained during that time to his clients’ advantage, anticipating the negotiating tactics and legal strategies of the prosecutor and preparing for them in advance. Additionally, Max is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, a distinction that is reserved for the top 50 criminal defense lawyers in the state. 

About Barry S. Edwards

Barry S. Edwards is also a prestigious member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice. Additionally, Mr. Edwards is a member of the National College of DUI Defense, and has been selected as Super Lawyer multiple times. A talented lawyer who is known to drive a hard bargain in DWI cases, Barry teaches litigation strategies to DWI lawyers all over the state. Mr. Edwards has more than two decades of experience in criminal law.

Our Criminal Lawyers Can Help You

Get a DWI Dismissed in Minneapolis, MN

Illegal Stops

In St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, police officers must have reasonable suspicion that a criminal activity is occurring, or has already occurred, before making a police stop. If you were arrested for DWI after the police made an illegal stop, a DUI lawyer with our criminal defense law firm will help make sure evidence obtained during the stop is thrown out of court.

Inaccurate Chemical BAC Tests

The accuracy of breathalyzers and blood alcohol tests has been called into question multiple times by Minnesota appellate courts. In some cases, the United States Supreme Court has found them to be unconstitutional. In others, errors in the testing process, or measurement inaccuracies from the tests themselves, have added weaknesses to the State’s case. A DWI lawyer with our law firm can dispute the validity of chemical test results.

Without adequate evidence to prove to the jury that you were in fact driving while impaired or intoxicated, the prosecution may no longer have a case against you. 

Illegal Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. If an officer pulled you over and searched your vehicle or your person without reasonable cause or permission to do so, a DUI attorney can review what happened to see if the search was unconstitutional. Any evidence that was obtained through an illegal search and seizure may be inadmissible.

Unreliable Field Sobriety Tests

Field sobriety tests are often used in DWI cases to determine whether there is probable cause for an arrest. However, drivers are not required to take such tests, and they are not accurate enough to gauge a driver’s level of impairment. A DUI lawyer may be able to use their lack of scientific foundation as part of your DUI defense.

Is Your DWI Case Headed for Trial?

Few Minnesota DWI cases go to trial. In fact, in some locations surrounding the Twin Cities, criminal defense lawyers resolve approximately 95% of DUI and DWI cases out of court through plea bargains. Unfortunately, many criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota will avoid bringing DWI cases in front of a jury, even if it means sacrificing your rights. As a result, you could face

  • Jail or prison time
  • Stiff fines
  • The loss of your driving privileges
  • Damage to your reputation and career

That isn’t how our criminal defense law firm works.

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“Max is a very professional and thorough lawyer. Any questions I had were answered right away and with great clarity. Max covered all of the steps throughout the process of my DUI, as well as going above and beyond to take care of some other issues that popped up on the way. I couldn’t have asked for anything more from Max, and I would highly recommend Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys to anyone in need of a highly skilled and communicative lawyer.”

 

~ Jake

What Are the Degrees of DWI in Minnesota?

Minnesota DWI offenses are classified in the following categories.

First Degree DWI | Felony

  • Fourth DWI within the past 10 tears

  • Previous felony DWI conviction

  • Prior felony conviction for certain types of criminal motor vehicle operation

  • Felony DWI conviction enhances future DWIs
  • Mandatory conditions apply prior to conviction unless unconditional bail is posted
Up to 7 years in prison
Up to $14,000 in fines
  • Mandatory penalties and long term monitoring apply

  • Driver’s license cancellation for multiple years

  • Motor vehicle license plates impounded

  • Vehicle is subject to forfeiture

     

Second Degree DWI | Gross Misdemeanor

  • Two or more aggravating factors

  • Test refusal with one or more aggravating factors

  • Mandatory penalties and long term monitoring may apply.

     

Up to 365 Days in jail
Up to $3,000 in fines
  • Driver’s license revocation or cancellation

  • Motor vehicle license plates revoked

  • Vehicle is subject to forfeiture

Third Degree DWI | Gross Misdemeanor

  • One aggravating factor

  • Charged with test refusal

Up to 365 days in jail
Up to $3,000 in fines
  • Mandatory penalties and long term monitoring may apply.

  • Your Driver’s license may be revoked unless this is your first offense with a test refusal.

Fourth Degree DWI | Misdemeanor

  • No aggravating factors
  • No prior convictions within the past 10 years.
Up to 90 days in jail
Up to $1,000 in fines
  • No mandatory penalties.

     

What Are Aggravating Factors in a DWI?

In Minnesota, DWI charges can be enhanced if aggravating factors are present. If you are arrested for driving while intoxicated and one or more of these factors exist, you will be facing higher level charges and harsher penalties, even if this is your first offense.

Although refusing to submit to a chemical BAC test is not technically considered an aggravating factor under Minnesota law, you will face heightened penalties if you refused to take a required test, and you are convicted of DWI.

Factors That May Enhance Your DWI Penalties

The existence of the following factors may enhance your DWI penalties if you are convicted.

  • Prior Convictions: One or more prior DWI conviction(s), or qualifying impaired driving incident, within the past 10 years
  • Level of Intoxication: A BAC of 0.16% or greater
  • Minor Children: A child under 16 years of age in the vehicle (if you are at least 36 months older)

What Your Criminal Defense Lawyer Wants You to Know If You Get Pulled Over for Suspected DWI in Minnesota

Be Prompt

Even if you think you may have had too much to drink, calmly pull your vehicle over as soon as it is safe to do so. Pull out your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance information before the officer approaches your car. The officer will be watching for signs of impairment. You should limit his or her ability to observe you for signs that you’ve been drinking or using drugs.

Two Cars Stopped in a Road Crossing an Open Field. Drunk Driver Gets Caught by Professional Officers
Female Police Officer Approaches Vehicle, Asks Driver License and Registration.

Keep Your Mouth Shut

Politely refuse to answer any questions about your consumption of alcohol or drugs. Remember, you are on camera and your interaction with law enforcement is most likely getting recorded. Even though you have not been arrested yet, admitting the consumption of drugs or alcohol can be used against you. Additionally, any rude remarks on your end are only going to make your situation worse.

Cooperate

If the officer requests that you exit your vehicle, cooperate. He or she may ask to pat you down. Allow it. If you are armed, make sure you use a calm voice to inform the police that you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Minnesota, and tell him or her where your weapon is located. Give the officer the necessary information to identify you, but don’t answer any additional questions, especially if they are consumption-related. Doing so may be interpreted as an admission of guilt. 

Male police officers check vehicle on the road
Roadside Sobriety Test

Decline to Perform Field Sobriety Tests

You are NOT required to perform field sobriety tests in Minnesota. Law enforcement may threaten you with arrest if you refuse to comply. However, you are not legally required to consent to any tests at the roadside. These include the one-leg stand, walk and turn around, and horizontal gaze nystagmus. Minnesota Implied Consent Law applies only to approved breath, urine, and blood tests that allegedly determine intoxication.

Refuse to Take a Roadside Preliminary Breath Test (PBT)

Don’t be coerced into taking a roadside PBT. Minnesota law does not require you to consent to this test. Preliminary Breath Test results are not admissible in court. The results can, however, be used to demonstrate probable cause. If you are in doubt as to whether the PBT is covered by the Minnesota Implied Consent Law, make sure to ask the officer. If the Law doesn’t apply to the PBT, refuse to take it.

drunk driver showing refuse gesture to policeman with breathalyzer

What to Do If You Are Arrested for DWI in Minnesota

Pay Attention

Stay alert to what’s happening around you. Did law enforcement read you your Miranda rights? Did they read you the Implied Consent Advisory? Is the officer using unnecessary force? As soon as you get a chance, write down everything you can remember about your arrest and the events that followed. Doing so may help your DWI lawyer identify errors or weaknesses in the case.

Exercise Your Right to Remain Silent

Do not make small talk with law enforcement officers, other inmates, or anyone else after your arrest. Do not answer any questions other than those that are necessary to identify you and book you in. Under the Fifth Amendment, you have the right to remain silent. You cannot be compelled to refuse to answer questions or provide information that can be used to incriminate you. When officers begin asking questions, request to speak to a DWI lawyer.

Cooperate with the Booking Process

Shortly after you arrive at the station, booking officers will need to photograph you, and you will need to be fingerprinted. Cooperate. Rude responses, refusing to cooperate, or otherwise acting out will only add to your problems. You could even be charged with obstruction in addition to facing DWI charges.

Request to Speak to an Attorney

Officers will read you the Implied Consent Advisory at the police station. The document informs you that you are legally obligated to consent to a blood alcohol test, and that refusing the test is a crime. It explicitly states, however, that you have the right to seek legal advice about whether to consent to the test. If you haven’t already, you should request to speak to an attorney.

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The DWI Lawyers at Keller Criminal Defense Attorneys are available 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

What You Need to Know if You Were Arrested for DWI in Minnesota

Are You a Commercial Driver Facing DWI Charges?

BAC limits are lower for commercial drivers in Minnesota. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and Minnesota statutes prohibit commercial drivers with a CDL from operating, driving, or having physical control of a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.04% or greater.

Since commercial drivers are held to a higher standard than regular drivers, penalties for DWI are more severe. BAC limits apply to people who have a CDL regardless of whether they are driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the offense.

CDL Commercial Driver
A young woman has to undergo an alcohol test

What Happens If You Get a DWI, and You’re Under 21?

Under Minnesota’s “Not-a-Drop” law, there is zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. If you are under the age of 21, you can face DUI charges if you operate a motor vehicle with any amount of alcohol in your system. If you get pulled over by police, and you have even a trace of alcohol in your system, you are subject to Minnesota’s “illegal per se” and “administrative per se” laws.

  • You will automatically be arrested
  • You face immediate DMV sanctions, like the loss of your driver’s license
  • If you have prior DUI convictions, or you were operating a motor vehicle that was involved in an accident, you may go to jail.

How Serious Are Your DWI Charges?

In most DUI cases in Minnesota, first-offenders are charged with a misdemeanor DWI. The severity level of your charges, however, depends on the number of prior convictions you’ve had, and whether aggravating factors existed at the time of your arrest.

A driver holding alcoholic bottle while driving
laboratory glassware containing chemical liquid

What Is Minnesota’s Implied Consent Law?

Under Minnesota’s Implied Consent law, any person who operates, drives, or is in control of a motor vehicle in the state automatically consents to a qualifying chemical test to determine the presence of alcohol, drugs, or any intoxicating substance in the driver/operator’s body. This implied consent applies to breathalyzer, urine, and blood tests.

Although it is illegal to refuse to submit to a qualifying chemical test, implied consent laws do not apply to preliminary screening tests. PBT results are inadmissible in court. The purpose of a PBT is to help an officer determine whether there is cause to make an arrest for DWI. Therefore, it is not illegal for drivers to refuse to take a PBT. Refusing such a test, however, can be used to establish probable cause.

What Happens if a Minnesota Driver Refuses to Take a BAC Test?

If a driver refuses to take a breath test to determine his or her BAC level, he or she will be offered a urine test and/or blood test. Officers may not require a driver to take a blood or urine test without a warrant, except in certain situations where criminal vehicular operation (vehicular homicide, bodily injury) is involved.

Refusing to take an alcohol concentration test comes with various administrative sanctions and criminal penalties. Your driver’s license may be revoked, and your DWI charges may be enhanced. Still, it may be in your best interest to refuse to take a test.

Blood alcohol test