Rochester Law Blog

Drunk driving risks in Minnesota

At this time of year, it is common that people in Minnesota find themselves attending multiple holiday events. These may include company parties, neighborhood gatherings, family functions and more. As alcohol is frequently served at these functions, people may be more at risk for being on the road with drunk drivers as many people refuse to find alternate transportation or opt not to consume alcohol when going out.

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that between the five years from 2013 through 2017, alcohol was involved with anywhere from 24 percent to 30 percent of vehicular fatalities statewide every year. During this five-year span, a total of 498 lives were lost on Minnesota roads, highways and freeways at the hands of drunk drivers.

How accurate are field sobriety tests?

If you or someone you know has been charged with a criminal offense for driving under the influence of alcohol, it will be important to learn about the defense process and how you or the person charged can protect their rights. One element that can be important here is understanding the evidence used against the defendant. In a drunk driving case, this generally includes the results of some field sobriety tests.

As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, none of the tests approved for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are completely accurate. There may be multiple common health or medical conditions that impede your ability to execute the tasks as instructed by an officer. Even the mere fact of being overweight to the point of being clinically obese could prevent you from balancing perfectly on one leg. Some neurological conditions may mimic the eye jerking that is examined during the horizontal gaze nystagmus test.

When can I get my child support order modified?

If you have been ordered to pay child support, you may wonder if you will always have to pay the same amount. Minnesota courts realize that situations change, so child support orders are not written in stone. You do have the option to have them modified. However, because the court is very busy, you cannot just request a change any time you want.

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, there are very specific circumstances which trigger your ability to request a support order modification. First, would be in you have a major income change or if your child's other parent has one. A major change would be an increase or decrease in income of at least 20 percent. The court will not issue a change in the order unless the amount would change by 20 percent and be a difference of at least $75.

Typical injuries that anyone can get in a crash

Minnesota residents who have been involved in a crash will usually have symptoms that appear immediately, as well as ones that take longer to manifest. While the injuries with immediate symptoms may be more acute and require more immediate medical attention, injuries that are slower to show can be equally dangerous.

FindLaw takes a look at the most common injuries that can occur during a crash. This includes injury to the neck, head, chest, and back. The legs are usually left with fewer injuries, though arms may become hurt too. Damages to muscles, bones, ligaments and nerves can occur. Concussion, whiplash, broken bones and sprains are all relatively common. It's also possible for more severe damage like limb loss, burns, or deep tissue scarring and trauma.

Violence is not an appropriate way to handle anger

As one of many adults in Minnesota, you've likely had your share of disagreements in life. Perhaps, you've argued with a spouse, friend or co-worker. Maybe you've even had a bad encounter with a stranger in a public place. It is not so much about the fact that you argued with someone that poses a problem but about how you argued, in particular what you did and whether violence occurred.

On the other hand, if someone gets angry at you and acts aggressively, you may be at great risk for injury. Assault is subject to criminal charges and penalties under conviction that may include jail time and substantial fines. A situation that occurred on a Sunday earlier this year is an example of anger gone wrong.

Understanding the one-leg stand test

If you are like most people in Minnesota, you have heard people talk about tests given to drivers suspected of being intoxicated before they are arrested for drunk driving. These tests aptly referred to as field sobriety tests, are standardized and approved for use by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, the tests are not meant to nor can they prove that a person is drunk.

Field sobriety tests instead are used to collect evidence to support the possibility that a driver is drunk. This, in turn, supports an officer placing the driver under arrest. One of these tests is the one-leg stand test. The officer must first give verbal instructions and a live demonstration of what the driver is supposed to do. Only after doing this is the officer allowed to instruct the driver to perform the requested actions.

What are the four types of falls?

Slip and fall accidents are quite common in Minnesota, especially during the winter months when sidewalks, parking lot and other surfaces become slippery due to ice or standing water. If you suffer a slip and fall accident, it can cause serious injury. Being aware of your surroundings can help decrease the likelihood that you will become a victim of a fall. It can help to understand the four types of falls that occur.

According to Occupational Health and Safety, slip and fall is only one type of fall. It involves the foot losing traction on a surface which then throws off your balance and you fall. There are other types of falls that are similar. The stump and fall, for example, is when your foot encounters an unseen object that stops your momentum and leads to a fall.

Minnesota's IID Program

If you have been arrested for and charged with an impaired driving offense in Minnesota, you might be facing the revocation of your driver's license. If this happens to you and you are convicted of a driving while intoxicated or driving under the influence charge, you may have the option to restore your right to drive by using an ignition interlock device.

As explained by the Minnesota Department of Driver and Vehicle Services, even a first-ever DWI or DUI charge might lead to your license being revoked. The length of time that your revocation will last will depend in part on your blood alcohol content at the time of your arrest or your choice to take or not to take a breath test. License revocation periods last from 90 days to one year for first time offenses. By installing an ignition interlock device, you may regain the right to drive at any time during this period.

Field tests cannot prove intoxication

If you have been charged with a driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated offense in Minnesota, you will no doubt want to learn your options to defend yourself. This is certainly your right and you should always feel you have such an option. One thing that may become part of your defense is the accuracy of the evidence used against you. This includes the results of any field sobriety tests you took.

As explained by FieldSobrietyTests.org, these tests are not used or able to measure any impairment or intoxication in a person. Instead, they are simply a means to indicate that a person might possibly be impaired so that a police officer can legally place them under arrest for suspected drunk driving. This is an important distinction that drivers should know.

Is uncontested divorce the right choice for you?

Minnesota couples facing the prospect of divorce know that this choice is not an easy one. It is difficult to make the decision to move forward with ending a marriage, and some couples are looking for ways to make it as easy and streamlined as possible. One way to do this is by filing for an uncontested divorce.

Uncontested divorce is not the right choice for every couple, but it could provide you and your spouse with many benefits. Before you make any important decisions that will affect your future, it is beneficial to consider all of the divorce options available to you. In any type of divorce, it is important to consider how your choices will affect your long-term interests and financial security. 

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