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Is Hungover Driving Illegal in Minnesota?

by Jul 19, 2022Cassandra Bautista, Criminal Defense Attorney, DWI / DUI

If you’re on the mend from a big night out drinking, you may be experiencing the unpleasant effects of a hangover: headache, fatigue, nausea, and general unease. We usually assume that a hangover means we’ve slept off the alcohol and we’re ready to start our day. But when you’re hungover, an unfortunate run-in with law enforcement can quickly turn into a criminal charge.

When Is Being Hungover A Crime?

So, is it a crime to drive while hungover in Minnesota? Not technically, but there are a few cases where you may still receive a ticket or a criminal charge. First and most important, you must not still be above the legal limit of 0.08% BAC when you are driving while hungover. If you are stopped by police because of erratic driving and must take a sobriety test, you may be charged with a DWI even if you stopped drinking hours ago. It’s best to make sure you are feeling well enough to drive after a night of drinking, even if you’re sure you’re sober. If you are tired or distracted because of your physical state, you could be pulled over and cited for reckless or distracted driving. This is a misdemeanor that can lead to fines and may send you to jail if you have a previous record.

Is Your Hungover DWI Charge Valid?

Did a cop see you looking a little disheveled after a night of drinking and pull you over? What was their actual reason for the stop? If you were pulled over and charged with a DWI, law enforcement must have a valid reason to have conducted the traffic stop that led to your charge. Simply knowing that you had been drinking the night before is not a valid reason for a law enforcement officer to arrest you for DWI. 

A DWI/DUI lawyer who is experienced in defending against these charges will be able to quickly spot a bogus explanation for the stop, which means we may be able to have your case dismissed. Even if the stop was valid, there are other options when considering your defense. It’s always up to the state to prove that you committed the crime they have accused you of, and they have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Sometimes the best defense is to maintain your innocence and let the prosecutor show that they don’t actually have evidence of the crime. 

Sieben Edmunds Miller’s criminal defense lawyers in Minnesota understand the MN DWI laws and can help you fight against a DWI charge. Prosecutors have lots of experience proving guilt in this type of case, but we have our own experience defending clients who find themselves in this tricky situation. DWI arrests don’t have to lead to convictions. Work with our Minnesota criminal defense lawyers to work toward a positive outcome to your case.

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