When Minnesota police make a traffic stop because they suspect that a driver is impaired, they usually do several things. After pulling over the driver in question, a patrol officer might ask the driver to step out of his or her vehicle. The officer might also request that the driver take a preliminary breath screening and/or filed sobriety test. It is also common for police to ask a motorist questions, such as, “Have you been drinking alcohol?” — which the driver is under no obligation to answer.
A sober person can still be arrested on suspicion of DWI
A person might assume that, because he or she has not consumed alcohol, the police officer will not make a DWI arrest. The fact is that there have been many cases in the past where sober people have been taken into police custody and charged with DWI. It is important to keep this in mind during a traffic stop, and it’s equally important to know one’s rights and where to seek legal support if an arrest is made.
Answering questions may make matters worse
A driver is under no obligation to answer questions about whether he or she consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel. Some people think it is harmless to respond to a police officer by saying that they only had a few drinks and are not drunk or that they took some pain medication before driving; however, the U.S. Constitution protects a person’s right to remain silent under police interrogation.
Failing a field sobriety test is likely to result in a DWI arrest
The third issue to keep in mind when a Minnesota police officer seeks probable cause to make a DWI arrest is that there are no penalties for refusing to take a field sobriety test. If a person is facing DWI charges, he or she has a better chance of mitigating the circumstances by relying on an experienced criminal defense attorney for legal support. An attorney can carefully review the case and make recommendations as to which type of defense strategy best fits a client’s needs.