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DWI Charges in Minnesota

Minnesota DWI Charges - Twin Cities Defense Lawyer

Understanding your Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) Charges

If you are facing a DUI or DWI charge in the Twin Cities, it can be hard to know how to take the first step.  The possibility of losing your license, facing heavy fines and even jail time can obviously cause major turmoil in your day to day life.  The first step to understanding the potential consequences for a DWI charge is understanding the charges you are facing, and possible defenses to those charges.

In Minnesota, a DWI is defined as being under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or having an alcohol concentration (AC) of .08 or more.  You can also be charged for a DWI if you have any amount or residue (referred to as “metabolite”) of a schedule I or II controlled substance other than marijuana in the body.  If you are driving a commercial vehicle, you can be charged with a DWI if your alcohol content is over .04.

In Minnesota, there is a lower BAC limit for minors (.02) and for commercial drivers (.04). It also includes impairment by drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and barbiturates in its drunk driving laws.

Minnesota classifies an impaired driving offense as a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony.

Misdemeanor DWI Charges in Minnesota

First time offenders receive a fourth degree DWI, a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and license suspension of 90 days. The suspension increases to 180 days if the driver’s BAC is .20 or above or the offense occurred in a vehicle that contained a passenger under age 16. License reinstatement fee is $250.

Gross Misdemeanor DWI Charges in Minnesota

If a second DWI offense occurs within 10 years of a previous conviction the offender is charged with a gross misdemeanor punishable by a $3,000 fine and a license suspension of 180 days (360 days if BAC above .20 or person under 16 in vehicle). Offenders also must install on their vehicles specially coded license plates that identify them as a DWI offender.

A third conviction within 10 years of the first offense nets the offender a second degree DWI, a gross misdemeanor punishable by a $3,000 fine, an indefinite license cancellation, license plate impoundment and mandatory entry into an alcohol treatment program.

Felony DWI Charges in Minnesota

A fourth conviction becomes first degree DWI, a felony punishable by a $14,000 fine and a jail sentence of up to seven years. While any level of DWI offense can result in a jail sentence, felony DWI always includes a jail sentence.

Ignition ingerlock Devices & Shortened Suspensions

To have their license reinstated after a DWI offense, all drivers now must have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. This device is a “breathalyzer on demand.” Drivers must blow into the device before they can start their vehicles. If the device detects alcohol in the driver’s breath the vehicle cannot be started. Ignition interlock devices can effectively cut the length of your license suspension in half.

Whatever the Charge, Harvey Skees Can Help.

Each DWI case, be it a misdemeanor or a felony, is viewed under its unique circumstances by the presiding judge and jail sentences are within that judge’s discretion. Even a first-time offense can land the driver in jail for up to 90 days. With the potential consequences that high, it's critical that you have an experienced DWI defense lawyer in your corner. Harvey Skees provides a free iniitial consultation either over the phone or in his office. Call, email or text message him to get started on your Minnesota DWI defense today.

DWI laws in Minnesota