Ramsey County DWI Information
Ramsey County includes the cities of ST. PAUL, ARDEN HILLS, Bald Eagle, Bellaire, Cardigan Junction, FALCON HEIGHTS, Gem Lake, Gladstone, Gloster, Hazel Park, Highwood, Hoffmans Corner, Lake Shore Park, Lauderdale, LITTLE CANADA, MAPLEWOOD, Midvale, MOUNDSVIEW, NEW BRIGHTON, NORTH OAKS, NORTH ST. PAUL, ROSEVILLE, SHOREVIEW, VADNAIS HEIGHTS, White Bear Beach, and WHITE BEAR LAKE. There are many different prosecutors who represent the State on misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor DWI cases in these municipalities. Each prosecuting office has their own policies when it comes to offering plea bargains and spending resources on prosecuting DWI matters to their fullest extent.
Derek A. Patrin handles all Ramsey County matters for our office since he was born and raised in Saint Paul and has many contacts in Ramsey County. Derek has dealt with every prosecution office that handles cases in Ramsey County, and he has been in front of every judge in the county.
All Saint Paul DWI matters are handled at the main courthouse at 15 West Kellogg Boulevard in downtown St. Paul. After the initial appearance, DWI cases are assigned to one particular judge for the rest of the process. If a “bad” judge is assigned, sometimes it makes sense to remove that judge and try for a new one. This can only be done once in a criminal case. All suburban DWI cases have 2-3 initial hearings at the suburban courthouse in Maplewood at 2050 White Bear Avenue. There will typically be a different judge at that courthouse each time you go, since the downtown Saint Paul judges all rotate in the suburban courthouse. If your suburban DWI case is contested or goes to trial, eventually the case will be transferred to the downtown courthouse for that contested hearing or trial.
Ramsey County has a strict policy that requires a criminal DWI case to be completely finished before a DWI driver can contest the revocation of their driver’s license. Since Ramsey County makes drivers wait to make this challenge, the court will agree to stay the revocation until the contested revocation hearing is over. If you are facing a DWI in Ramsey County and need to continue driving for work or family reasons, it is critical that you hire a DWI attorney who knows the system and knows how to get your license revocation stayed. Sometimes it is possible to stay that revocation for many months while your DWI criminal case is pending. Many clients have even asked our office to try to delay their criminal case for as long as possible so they can keep their license valid for months until they are more prepared to face a revocation later.
Ramsey County is fast becoming one of the toughest counties in the State of Minnesota for DWI defendants. It has become more and more difficult to beat cases in Ramsey County since most of the judges are very conservative and tend to believe what officers tell them in court. Your attorney needs to be well-versed in the law and applicable statutes to stand a chance of winning a DWI case in Ramsey County. Prosecutors will also make different plea bargain offers depending on which attorney is representing a DWI defendant. They are usually more open to better deals when they know from experience that they have a fight on their hands. Since the judges are more conservative, making the right deal with the prosecutor can make the difference between a lengthy jail sentence or house arrest or just a fine with probation.
Ramsey County likes to sentence DWI defendants to complete their “pet program” for alcohol education and treatment, which is known by its initials, ASUDS. This program requires most offenders to attend at least ten different educational/therapy sessions, even for first time offenders. It is possible, but not easy, to avoid this program if a proper strategy is followed. Many of our clients are able to avoid ASUDS and complete an alternative program that does not require as many separate sessions. Also, first time offenders are usually ordered to complete a MADD Victim Impact Panel. You can find out more information about the MADD Victim Impact Panels.
For DWI defendants facing mandatory jail penalties, most Ramsey County judges are willing to consider allowing some of the jail sentence to be served under house arrest with work release. However, most of them want to hear a “good” reason to justify house arrest over work release in custody. Again, an experienced DWI attorney who handles many cases in Ramsey County is the best way to get the shortest possible sentence with the most favorable terms.