DWI Punishments

Hands Behind Bars

DWI PENALTIES IN MINNESOTA

What kind of punishments could you be looking at when you’re charged with a DWI?

The Criminal penalties in Minnesota can be extreme.  They range from no jail and a small fine to up to 6 years in prison.  Every county can have different “standard” sentences for driving while impaired and it’s important that your lawyer understands this.

Minnesota DWI punishment in criminal court is punishable for up to 90 days in jail, plus fines, mandatory DWI alcohol education courses, DWI drivers license consequences, and more. If a first-offense DWI is considered a gross misdemeanor due to aggravating factors, such as a high Blood Alcohol Content or having a child in the car, the punishment and penalties for drunk driving can include up to one year in jail and a fine of $3,000.00.

Minnesota DWI punishment for a second-offense drunk driving conviction is much harsher. A second offense DWI conviction within ten years of a prior offense is a gross misdemeanor, and carries DWI punishment and penalties of up to one year in jail, plus a fine of up to $3,000.00.  There is a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days of executed jail.  Sometimes this may be satisfied by doing staggered sentences (such as 10-10-10 days of jail spread out over a few years), EHM, which is short for electronic home monitoring and is often called “house arrest”.  Community work service may be an option too.

Minnesota DWI punishment goes up significantly for a third-offense DUI arrest within 10 years. Your car will be immediately impounded and the police will usually seek to forfeit or keep the vehicle. There is increased exposure for jail time on a third-time DWI. It is imperative that an alcohol abuse evaluation be obtained. If you are not an alcoholic, you will have to prove it at this point.  The mandatory minimum sentence for a third time DWI is 90 days in jail.

Minnesota DWI laws make a fourth-offense within 10 years a felony. Minnesota DWI law for a felony drunk driving conviction will include three years in prison and a fine of not less than $14,000.00.

A first-degree DWI is charged if there are three or more aggravating factors. Aggravating factors may include:

  • A prior impaired driving incident within a 10 year period (this includes DWI license revocations or DWI convictions);
  • Blood Alcohol Content is more than two times the legal limit (.20);
  • Child Endangerment exists (child in the vehicle at the time of offense);

A first-degree DWI offense is a felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine. The state will also impound the license plates of the driver and may also seek a forfeiture of the driver’s vehicle. That means the State would retain the vehicle without compensation to the owner. Moreover, the statute requires law enforcement to hold the DWI suspect in jail until the first court appearance if:

  • The new DWI violation occurs within 10 years of 3 or more prior impaired driving convictions; or
  • The new DWI violation is the 2nd offense and the defendant is under 19 years of age;
  • The new violation occurs with a Blood Alcohol concentration of .20 or more at the time or within 2 hours of the driving conduct;
  • The New DWI occurs and the driver’s license has been cancelled as inimical to public safety

Second Degree DWI – §169A.25

A second degree DWI is charged if there are two aggravating factor. Aggravating factors may include:

  • A prior impaired driving incident within a 10 year period (this includes DWI license revocations or DWI convictions);
  • Blood Alcohol Content is more than two times the legal limit (.20);
  • Child Endangerment exists (child in the vehicle at the time of offense);

A second-degree DWI offense is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. The state may also impound the license plates of the driver and seek to forfeit the vehicle that was being driven. Again, the statute requires law enforcement to hold the DWI suspect in jail until the first court appearance if:

  • The new DWI violation occurs within 10 years of 2 or more prior impaired driving convictions; or
  • The new DWI violation is the 2nd offense and the defendant is under 19 years of age;
  • The new violation occurs with a Blood Alcohol concentration of .20 or more at the time or within 2 hours of the driving conduct;
  • The New DWI occurs and the driver’s license has been cancelled as inimical to public safety.

Third Degree DWI – §169A.26

A third degree DWI is charged if there is one aggravating factor or if the driver refused to take the breath, blood or urine test and it is a first offense

A third degree DWI offense is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. The state may also impound the license plates of the driver and seek to forfeit the vehicle that was being driven. Again, the statute requires law enforcement to hold the DWI suspect in jail until the first court appearance if:

  • The new DWI violation occurs within 10 years of 2 or more prior impaired driving convictions; or
  • The new DWI violation is the 2nd offense and the defendant is under 19 years of age;
  • The new violation occurs with a Blood Alcohol concentration of .20 or more at the time or within 2 hours of the driving conduct;
  • The New DWI occurs and the driver’s license has been cancelled as inimical to public safety.

Fourth Degree DWI – §169A.27

A fourth degree DWI is charged if there are no aggravating factors. That means no prior DWI or DWI related license revocations. Additionally the driver cannot have a blood alcohol concentration in excess of twice the legal limit (.20) or have refused to take a test to determine that blood alcohol content.

A fourth degree DWI offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Mandatory Sentences DWI – §169A.275

The new DWI statute also includes mandatory sentences for repeat offenders.

  • 2nd DWI – 30 days executed jail sentence with a minimum of 48 hour consecutive
  • 3rd DWI – 90 days executed jail sentence with a minimum of 30 days consecutive
  • 4th DWI – 180 days executed jail sentence with a minimum of 30 days consecutive
  • 5th DWI – 365 days executed jail sentence with a minimum of 60 days consecutive
    * If you are on probation for a related DWI offense, sentencing is consecutive rather than concurrent.
 
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