After getting pulled over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you may fear the severe penalties to come. Minnesota is tough on drunk drivers and even first-time offenders can face substantial consequences.

In the days following your arrest, you may question your chances of successfully challenging the charges against you. After all, you may have taken chemical tests, field sobriety tests or more that confirmed over-the-limit blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels. However, you may have options to contest the charges and seek lesser penalties.

Penalties for a first-time DWI in Minnesota

Minnesota law states that if you refused to consent to or failed a chemical test, the state will immediately revoke your driver’s license. Refusing to take the test will result in a one-year revocation while failing the test will result in a 90-day revocation. You could also face plate impoundment, the forfeiture of your vehicle and more.

The criminal penalties you could face include jail time, steep fines, treatment programs and more. Additionally, a conviction will go on your criminal record, which can complicate applying for employment, housing, loans and more.

Strategies to challenge the penalties you face

Fortunately, all hope is not lost after your arrest. Depending on your case, you could have several strong defense strategies, including by contesting:

  • The traffic stop. In Minnesota, police officers must have “reasonable suspicion” to pull you over. Just because you were driving in an area abundant with bars or night life does not give the officer the right to pull you over.
  • The field sobriety tests. Roadside tests can include standing on one leg, the horizontal gaze nystagmus test and more. Even sober drivers can fail these tests and if you have certain health problems, these may affect your results.
  • The validity of other tests. Failing a breath, blood or urine test can seem like impossible evidence to overcome. However, these tests can be unreliable due to several factors, including improper use by the administering individual.

The evidence may seem stacked against you after a DWI arrest. However, you likely have options even with seemingly incriminating breath or blood test results or more. An attorney can assist by helping you meet critical deadlines, investigating all aspects of the arrest and cultivating a strong defense strategy to challenge the charges against you.