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What should you do if you are stopped for drunk driving in Minnesota?

Be Polite: If you are stopped for a drunk driving in Minnesota I, you will only exacerbate your situation by being physically or verbally abusive. If you are subjected to any verbal or physical mistreatment, make a note of it; but do not engage in it. When you know your rights, you can be assertive without being obnoxious.

Keep your mouth shut: When you are initially pulled over by the police for drunk driving, you are being detained, but you are not technically under arrest for a Minnesota DWI. Miranda warnings do not yet apply. You are not, however, under any obligation to answer any questions pertaining to the consumption of alcohol. As a Minnesota DWI Attorney, I urge you to provide the officer with your driver’s license and insurance information and politely refuse to answer any alcohol related questions.

Field Coordination Tests: Minnesota DWI law does not require you to submit to field coordination tests (eg. stand on one leg; recite the alphabet; stand on your head, etc.) when you have been stopped or are suspected of drunk driving. The “tests” are entirely voluntary and the sole judge of your performance is usually the arresting officer. As a Minnesota DWI Lawyer it is my opinion that it is generally the better practice to decline these “tests” so that no evidence of your performance can be used against you in court. Tell the officer you will not submit to any coordination tests before speaking to a Minnesota DWI attorney.

Preliminary breath Test: Most Minnesota police carry in their squads a portable breath testing machine called the “Alco Sensor”. The machine will show a “green” light if you have had anything to drink. It will show a “yellow” warning light if you are just under the legal limit and a “red” light if you are over the legal limit. The newer Alco Sensor models have a digital read-out of your alleged alcohol concentration level. The results of the portable breath test are not admissible against you in your criminal jury trial. You should submit to the portable breath test at the scene of the stop.

Not only should you submit to the preliminary breath test at the scene of the stop but you should also ask to see the result.  If the officer won’t show you the result, ask him to tell you the result.  The reason you want to know the result of the preliminary breath test is the result is very, very important information that will help any attorney you contact advise you on whether to submit to the official breath test at the police station.  For further information, see my related article on breath testing.

Contact Minnesota DWI Attorney F. T. Sessoms:

If you or a loved one have been arrested for drunk driving, feel free to contact Minnesota DWI Attorney, F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 for answers to all of your Minnesota DWI questions.


What do I say if the officer asks if I have been drinking?

If you have been consuming alcohol, the last person you want to inform is the police officer. You should not lie to the officer as that will undermine your credibility with the judge or jury. INSTEAD of answering the question, you should turn it back on the officer. Ask the officer, “Why are you asking me that question? He will invariably claim he smells alcohol. So tell the officer, “Alcohol is odorless. What you are smelling is the flavoring, be it from beer, wine, whiskey, gin, etc. So what alcoholic beverage was I drinking/? Then politely ask the officer, “Isn’t it true you ask everyone you stop late at night, if they have been drinking?
If he asks if you have been drinking, he is going to make you get out of the car to test you for drunk driving. So be polite but do not answer his questions.

What should I say if the officer asks me to perform field sobriety tests?

Just tell the officer that these tests are not considered accurate. The National HighwayTraffic Safety Administration found in 1977 that the error rate for the drunk driving tests was 47% and in 1981 the error rate was 31%. The tests have not ever been validated for anyone over 65 years of age or anyone obese (50 lbs. overweight) or with a medical condition. JUST SAY NO!!