Some criminal charges presuppose an alleged wrongdoer with a specific mindset and narrow objective.

Like bank robbery, for instance. The motive of an individual who enters a bank with a gun in hand and a written demand for cash is far from ambiguous.

Not all criminal behavior is so obvious and purposeful, though. Today’s blog post spotlights conduct that alleged offenders never intended as harmful. Moreover, many of those individuals — spanning Southeastern Minnesota and the rest of the country — were stopped and subsequently arrested by police officers without knowledge that they were even acting unlawfully.

Such is often the case concerning a motorist’s interaction with the criminal justice system following a traffic stop and resulting drunk driving charge.  Many drivers facing DWI (driving while intoxicated) charges are candidly surprised by the event.

Indeed, it can be surreal.

And it can happen to virtually anyone, as many Minnesota residents can readily attest.

The egalitarian nature surrounding DWI arrests

Perhaps the first thing to note about a drunk driving stop/arrest is that law enforcers don’t discriminate when they hit the flashing red lights and pull a targeted motorist to the curb.

That is, it is flatly hard to spotlight a single demographic in any community that is immune from a drunk driving charge. Across Minnesota, for example, news outlets routinely report DWI arrests of drivers ranging from teachers, doctors and accountants to priests, students, housewives, business owners and countless other individuals. Even police chiefs and judges sometimes face the adverse consequences of this exceptionally common offense.

Many detained individuals are flatly stunned by the encounter. And in many instances, it is true that a motorist merely had a drink or two with friends after work, while watching a sporting event or engaging in some other activity that did not unduly emphasize drinking. They believed they were acting reasonably responsibly, yet now face potentially heightened legal consequences.

What are the criminal penalties for DWI in Minnesota?

In a word, they are harsh. One authoritative legal source on Minnesota drunk driving charges and an accused offender’s resulting need for proven legal help directly notes that reality. If you are arrested, it states, “you could lose your driving privileges, pay high fines or even face jail time.”

And those are hardly the only exactions that might feature in a given case. One in-depth online overview of Minnesota DWI cases cites these additional penalties that are commonly applied:

  • License suspension/revocation
  • Plate impoundment
  • Required drug/alcohol assessment and levied costs
  • Ignition interlock device installation
  • Spiked insurance outlays
  • Imposed community service

And, of course, a criminal conviction can be a permanent blemish that can stifle job/promotion opportunities in the future, preclude housing options, undermine academic opportunities and foster myriad other adverse consequences.

As noted above, virtually any Minnesota driver who has had a drink or two before turning the key can have an unpleasant legal experience. An empathetic, aggressive and deeply experienced DWI defense attorney can help address – and often ameliorate – the downside results.