Don't ruin your holiday with a DWI
‘Tis the season for merriment and good will toward humankind. So why ruin it with a DWI?
Holiday parties are a great time to recap the year and look forward to the new year coming up. But far too often, men and women underestimate how much they drink. Instead of catching a ride or using public transportation, people will risk their safety and drive home, fooling themselves that they are not as intoxicated as they think they are.
If you drink and drive, you have a higher chance of getting a DWI than you think. The Pioneer Press reports 1 in 7 Minnesota drivers have a DWI. State statistics show there 26,414 drunk driving arrests in Minnesota in 2018. Alcohol-related crashes resulted in 123 deaths.
State statistics also show 72 percent of fatal crashes were on dry roads, with 11 percent on wet roads and 11 percent on snowy or icy roads. More than 40 percent of fatal crashes in Minnesota during 2018 occurred on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
With Christmas falling on a Wednesday this year, there is probably a good chance that office Christmas parties are being held the weekend before, on one of the days that statistically is more prone to fatal crashes.
Minnesota’s driving while impaired law isn’t restricted to just alcohol however. The state’s DWI laws consider alcohol, a controlled substance or any other hazardous substance that affects the brain can be considered under the Minnesota DWI law. The state’s DWI laws aren’t confined to just the road – an intoxicated driver of a motorboat, snowmobile, ATV and other off-road vehicles can also be issued a DWI.
A person is considered under the influence if his or her normal faculties are impaired due to the use of alcohol or drugs.
I didn’t listen to your advice and got a DWI this holiday season
If you fail a DWI test, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to get a conviction. Prosecutors must prove every element of a DWI beyond a reasonable doubt, like any other crime. For example, a police officer must have reasonable suspicion to pull a driver over. A driver weaving through lanes is enough cause for an officer to pull him or her over. A driver leaving bars at closing time and follows all traffic laws is not sufficient reasonable suspicion to be pulled over.
Without sufficient reasonable suspicion to pull a driver over, the entire stop could be thrown out of court.
DWI tests must also be precise, whether it is a chemical test, breathalyzer or a field sobriety test. Mistakes made during DWI tests can lead to evidence being dismissed.
Be safe and smart this year – don’t drink and drive. If you do find yourself facing a DWI charge, contacting a lawyer experienced in DWI laws may be one of the smartest decisions you make this season.