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Motorist’s rights during a DWI traffic stop

On Behalf of | Jan 11, 2022 | Drunk Driving Defense

Minnesota does not allow drunk driving checkpoints but the state does take driving under the influence seriously. Police officers can and do pull motorists over for minor infractions, which can sometimes lead to a charge of driving while intoxicated.

If you get pulled over and the officer suspects you are driving under the influence, you should know what your rights are.

The traffic stop

The law states that a cop must have reasonable suspicion you committed a crime in order to pull you over. If the police officer suspects you have been drinking, they will ask you to perform a series of field sobriety tests (FSTs). These may include standing on one leg, walking heel-to-toe in a straight line, following an object with your eyes, and breathing into a device that measures your breath alcohol content.

Your rights

You have the right to remain silent. If you have been drinking, and the officer asks how many drinks you have had, there is no good answer. Informing them that you do not want to respond without an attorney present is usually the safest way to address many of these questions.

In Minnesota, you can also decline to participate in pre-arrest sobriety tests. FSTs can be unreliable and biased and are primarily used to establish probable cause for arrest. Refusing these tests does not mean you cannot get arrested for driving while intoxicated, but it does limit the evidence that is available against you.

Staying safe is a top priority, and that includes protecting your rights as a Minnesota driver.

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