Criminal Defense FAQs

I’ve been charged with DWI. Do I need a lawyer?

Yes. A conviction for DWI carries serious criminal penalties and results in a suspension of your driver’s license, in addition to greatly increased insurance premiums for many years to come. Once a DWI conviction is placed on your Minnesota Driving Record, it can only be removed by court order. Otherwise, it remains for the rest of your life. Additionally, Minnesota law provides for increasingly severe penalties for repeat DWI charges, including a longer license suspension and additional criminal punishments.

What makes a DWI so complex?

Generally, a person arrested for DWI is asked to provide a breath, urine, or blood sample for testing to determine their blood alcohol level. If that person refuses testing or testing reveals an alcohol level of .08 or more, his or her driver’s license is invalidated in an Order of Revocation, which also serves as a seven-day temporary license.

Two processes take place separately: first, the criminal case, begun by the traffic ticket; and second, the Driver’s License Revocation case, sometimes called “Implied Consent,” in which you must essentially sue the State to get your driver’s license back and remove the revocation from your driving record.

All of these processes move quickly and occur simultaneously, making it critical that you consult with an experienced DWI attorney to ensure that your rights are protected.

I was arrested last week and my 7-Day Temporary license expires tomorrow. When should I see a lawyer about my questions? My court date isn’t scheduled for another five weeks.

You should schedule an appointment to talk to Mr. Paulson immediately. You have 30 days from the time you receive your Notice of Revocation/Temporary License to begin the Implied Consent process. Your situation may or may not involve an Implied Consent proceeding, but you and your attorney need sufficient time to analyze the facts and, if appropriate, begin the Implied Consent process by the 30-day deadline.

How much will it cost to defend my DWI charge?

It depends on a number of factors, including:

  • Severity of the charges (including whether you have a prior DWI conviction)
  • Your prior record
  • Where you need to go for Court

At Smith Paulson O’Donnell & Erickson, PLC, we generally handle traffic/criminal cases on a flat fee basis, which includes all legal representation and trial, if necessary. This flat fee for representation, together with a one-time, nominal expense fee, is paid at the time you hire us.