Minnesota DUI Laws

DUI/DWI in Minnesota

DWI is taken very seriously in Minnesota because of the risk an intoxicated driver causes for others on the road. This means when a law enforcement officer performs a traffic stop because of a suspected DWI, they will aggressively pursue a reason to make an arrest. From there, the prosecution will pursue conviction. To fight the charges, you need an experienced Minneapolis criminal defense lawyer representing your interests every step of the way.

Even if you are drinking and driving, it is important that your rights are protected and the best result is achieved. Many offenders are first-time offenders, which doesn’t always warrant being convicted for the maximum charge. In other words, don’t immediately admit guilt or plead guilty because there may be factors in your case that enable a much better result than you expect.

Minnesota DUI Basics

Minnesota DUI and DWI laws are often considered to be some of the harshest in the United States. The punishments for driving under the influence, as well as the convictions, depend on prior DUI offenses and the number of offenses. Punishments can also increase if a minor under sixteen years of age is in the motor vehicle.

Minors have different DUI conviction levels than adults. The normal legal blood alcohol content level in Minnesota is 0.08 percent for adults. The court will decide upon a minor’s punishment, depending on the circumstances. Minnesota also separates its driving while intoxicated offenses into varying degrees of severity. If an individual has a blood alcohol content of 0.20 percent or greater the court will automatically install a one thousand-dollar fine along with other fines and punishments. This can often be equivalent to a second-degree DWI offense.

Chemical Testing

Minnesota has different chemical testing stipulations than other states. Before an individual can be arrested for DUI, he or she has the right to contact his or her lawyer before submitting to chemical testing. If no personal lawyer is possible, the officer will provide the individual with a phonebook. Unlike other states, if an individual refuses to submit to chemical testing after a drunk driving arrest, he or she will be prosecuted under different charges.

Minnesota DWI Consequences

The number of DUI offenses will determine the charge. A first-time offense is considered a fourth-degree misdemeanor offense. A second DUI offense is considered a third-degree gross misdemeanor. A third DUI offense is considered a second-degree gross misdemeanor. A fourth DUI offense is considered a first-degree felony. Minnesota breaks its drunk driving convictions into four different degrees of severity.

A first-degree DWI offense is considered a first-degree DUI felony offense and includes previous drunk driving convictions in the past ten years, a blood alcohol content percentage above 0.20, and having a child in the vehicle at the time of the arrest. These are called aggravating factors. Punishments can include imprisonment for up to five years with a fine of ten thousand dollars.

An individual’s driver’s license will also be suspended. A second-degree offense with extreme blood alcohol content percentages, prior offenses, or child endangerment is punishable by up to one year of imprisonment and a fine of three thousand dollars. An individual’s driver’s license may also be suspended on two aggravating factors.

A third-degree DWI offense can include one aggravated factor and may also be installed if an individual refuses to take a chemical test upon a first offense. Punishments for third-degree offenses include up to one year of imprisonment and up to three thousand dollars in fines. Law enforcement will also maintain the individual until the first court date.

A fourth-degree offense will be charged if no aggravating factors are present. An individual cannot have his or her driver’s license previously revoked and may not have any prior convictions. The individual’s blood alcohol content also cannot be twice the amount of the legal limit. A fourth-degree DWI offense can earn up to ninety days of imprisonment and a fine of one thousand dollars.

Defense Against All Types Of Minnesota DWI Charges

There are different types of DWI charges, but which one a person is charged with depends on the details surrounding the offense. They are:

  • BWI
  • Commercial DWI (cannot have a blood alcohol concentration over .04 percent)
  • B-Card Restriction violations (cannot have any alcohol due to prior DWI)
  • OWI
  • Underage DWI (under the age of 21)
  • Non-Resident DWI

There are different penalties that can be put in place in the case of conviction. Those penalties include:

  • Fines
  • Jail time
  • Vehicle forfeiture
  • License suspension, revocation, or cancellation
  • Ignition interlock device
  • License plate impoundment
  • B-Card Restriction

Even if the DWI is a person’s first offense, aggravating factors can be present, which enhances the charge. Aggravating factors include a blood alcohol concentration of .20 or higher, having a minor in the vehicle, or a previous DWI offense within the past 10 years. Additional charges can be brought for refusing to take field sobriety tests or causing an auto accident because of being intoxicated.

Fighting For The Best Result

Your Minnesota DWI attorney will work hard for you, gathering the details regarding why you were pulled over in the first place, test administration, and how the arrest process was carried out. An officer has to have probable cause to pull you over and must follow a procedure when arresting you or the charge could be invalid. There are ways in which the charges can be reduced to a non-DWI offense and sometimes there are circumstances that lead to the charges being dismissed. Your attorney will guide you through the entire process and fight for an outcome that enables you to put the incident behind you as soon as possible.

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