Complete guide after getting a DWI in Minnesota.
MN DWI Lawyer
A 1st degree DWI conviction is considered a felony and is the most serious classification, but even a 2nd, 3rd, or 4th degree DWI in MN can come with weighty consequences. With that in mind, it’s important to hire a knowledgeable MN DWI lawyer who has the skills to possibly lower your charges and save you thousands of dollars and potential jail time.
A Minnesota DWI can ruin your life. If you’ve been charged with a DWI in MN call (651) 829-3572 today for a free consultation.
DWI vs DUI in Minnesota
Driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI) and driving under the influence (DUI) are both terms to describe the act of drunk driving. In some states, a DWI charge is more serious, as it’s only issued when a person’s BAC level is well above the legal limit. In Minnesota, however, there is no difference between the two terms. From a legal standpoint, DWI is used more often by the state and by Minnesota DWI lawyers.
Generally speaking, a DWI means:
- operating, driving, or in control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a hazardous or controlled substance
- having a blood alcohol level over .08
There is a “Zero Tolerance” drunk driving policy in Minnesota, which means anyone with a blood alcohol level over the legal limit can get a DWI. This is why it is really important to hire the right MN DWI Lawyer.
MN DWI Lawyer
Minnesota DWI laws are strict, and breaking them can include a combination of criminal penalties and loss of privileges. Call (651) 829-3572 today for a free consultation.
Minnesota DWI Penalties
With the first DWI and no other aggravating factors (described below), you can expect to lose your license for 30 to 90 days, and you will be fined a maximum of $1000 and/or spend 90 days in jail. Once the suspension period has passed, you will have to pay a fine to have your license reinstated as well as complete a DWI knowledge test for MN.
For every DWI that follows or additional aggravating factor, the penalties become harsher and may involve having your license plate impounded, increased fines, and a greater possibility of jail time or community service. If the offenses continue, you can eventually lose your license for four years, serve up to 7 years in prison, pay a $14,000 fine, or have your vehicle seized. Call our MN DWI lawyer for a free legal consultation and let us fight for you.
Your MN DWI Lawyer
You really should have an MN DWI lawyer to represent you, it’s your life. Don’t let things get out of control. We have the experience to assist you, the right way. Get in contact with us today for a free consultation.
Degrees of DWI in MN
In Minnesota there are four degrees of DWI with different levels of severity. These classifications are largely determined by the number of “aggravating factors” that were present at the time of the incident. Aggravating factors are:
- having a previous impaired driving conviction within the past 10 years
- having a BAC of .16 or higher (measured at the time or within two hours of driving)
- a child under 16 years of age was in the vehicle at the time of the incident
With each aggravating factor or repeated conviction, the degree of the DWI increases in severity, as outlined below:
No Aggravating Factors
- Classification = 4th Degree DWI, misdemeanor
- Max Penalty = $1,000 fine and/or 90 days in jail
One Aggravating Factor
- Classification = 3rd Degree DWI, gross misdemeanor
- Max Penalty = $3,000 fine and/or 1 year in jail
Two Aggravating Factors
- Classification = 2nd Degree DWI, gross misdemeanor
- Max Penalty = $3,000 fine and/or 1 year in jail
Three Aggravating Factors
- Classification = 1st Degree DWI, Felony (for 4th offense)
- Max Penalty = $14,000 fine and/or 7 years in jail
When facing one of these offenses, a skilled Mn DWI lawyer may be able to get certain charges dropped or not shown on your record. This can make a huge difference in both immediate consequences and how the incident affects your life in the long term.
Minnesota Levels of Offenses
In Minnesota, every crime is designated one of four levels of offense, which are petty misdemeanor, misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony. A petty misdemeanor is the lowest level of offense, and is technically not a crime, since it can’t come with jail time.
The courts label all DWI’s as a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony, the differences of which are described below:
- Is an official crime
- Can result in a $1000 fine and/or 90 days of jail time
- Jail time is less likely
- More serious than a misdemeanor
- Can result in a $3,000 fine and/or one year of jail time
- Possibility for serving jail time or community service increases
- The highest level of offense
- Can include higher fines and over a year in prison
- May lose rights, such as voting, serving on a jury, owning firearms, joining certain professions, etc.
3rd Degree DWI in Minnesota
All DWIs are serious, but being charged with a 3rd Degree DWI means there was some other aggravating factor in your case that made the incident more severe than a standard, first-time DWI. This factor may have been having a prior DWI in the past 10 years, having a BAC level of .16 or higher, or having a child under 16 years old in the vehicle. If you’ve been caught driving while intoxicated, call a knowledgeable MN DWI lawyer to represent you immediately.
The punishments for a 3rd degree DWI in MN can include:
- Up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine
- For those with prior DWIs in the past 10 years, a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days
- Driver’s license may be revoked for 1 year.
- “Whiskey Plates”
- Having a gross misdemeanor on record
Having a whiskey plate does not give officers the right to stop your vehicle without cause, but you should keep in mind that, with these plates on your car, you are more likely to get stopped for even minor traffic errors.
Minnesota Whiskey Plates
In Minnesota, the courts can revoke both your driver’s license and your license plate for a DWI conviction. If your plates are seized, you may later have to use special registration plates commonly referred to as “whiskey plates” that generally have to stay on your car for one year. Whiskey plates are easy to identify, as they start with the letter “W” and are followed by another letter and then 4 numbers.
You may lose your plate and be subjected to purchasing a whiskey plate if any of these situations occur:
- You’ve had multiple DWIs within 10 years.
- You’ve had your licensed revoked within the past 10 years due to alcohol-related incidents.
- Your blood alcohol level was .16 or higher.
- A child under the age of 16 was in the car at the time of the DWI.
- You were driving on a license that was revoked for previous DWI offenses.
Trusted Minneapolis DWI Attorney
You don’t want to let things get out of control. We have the experience to assist you, the right way. Get in contact with us today for a free consultation.
Minnesota Limited Driver’s License
If you’ve had your Minnesota driver’s license revoked due to a DWI, you may be eligible for a limited driver’s license, also known as a work permit, which allows you to drive for specific purposes.
With a limited driver’s license, there are restrictions on when you are allowed to drive and for what reasons. In general, you are only allowed to drive while travelling to work, college, chemical dependency treatments, or when providing educational, medical, or nutritional needs for your family.
In some instances you can challenge your driver’s license revocation, which may keep you from needing a limited driver’s license and will reinstate your full driving privileges. The charge can be filed separately from your criminal DWI charge, but doing so is complicated and is best handled by a MN DWI lawyer with real expertise in this area.
In some instances you can challenge your driver’s license revocation, which may keep you from needing a limited driver’s license and will reinstate your full driving privileges. Call for a Free Consultation (651) 829-3572
Minnesota DWI laws are strict, and breaking them can include a combination of criminal penalties and loss of privileges.
How to Apply For a Minnesota DWI Work Permit
To qualify for a work permit, also known as a limited driver’s license, you must first meet specific criteria, including:
- You must be employed or a full-time homemaker.
- Your license was revoked for a first-time offense – either an implied consent violation or a DWI with a BAC level less than .16.
If you meet the above criteria, you will then have to take a written test related to drinking and driving issues (chapters 7 and 8 of the driver’s manual). After passing the test, you’ll have to pay a $680 license reinstatement fee as well as a $26.75 new license fee. Once your statutory waiting period is complete (at least 15 days after your license was revoked), you can then submit your application for approval to the Department of Public Safety. Keep in mind, the application must show that you cannot reasonably take public transportation or rideshare as opposed to driving, and a skilled MN DWI lawyer might be able to help you navigate the process.
I Got a DUI. Is My Life Over?
If you’re caught driving a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, you’ll likely face some serious consequences that can include fines, license revocation, a misdemeanor charge, jail time, or even a felony conviction. These penalties are usually more severe if your blood alcohol level was significantly over the legal limit or if you’ve had a DUI or DWI before. On top of the legal issues, your car insurance rates will most likely go up and you may have to deal with consequences at work, depending on your type of employment.
That being said, these are things from which you can recover, and your life is certainly not over. The most important thing to do after getting a DWI is to take action quickly by hiring an experienced Minneapolis DWI attorney who will be able to guide you through this legal process and help ensure you aren’t convicted of anything that you didn’t do. A DUI will undoubtedly disrupt your life in the short term, but if handled properly and with the help of a professional, you’ll have the best chance of quickly getting back to driving and back to your normal life.
How Consumption of Alcohol Affects Your Driving
Any level of alcohol in your system can potentially reduce your ability to drive safely, which is why, as many Minneapolis DWI lawyers can attest, drinking and driving is never a good idea. Since driving is an everyday activity for many adults, it’s easy to take for granted the relatively high level of coordination it takes to safely operate a vehicle. However, driving requires a wide range of skills, including concentration, making judgment calls, and multitasking with the hands, eyes, and feet. Alcohol can seriously affect your ability to perform these skills properly, as it impairs reaction time and coordination, can cause blurred or reduced vision, and hinders your ability to judge situations. In addition, after drinking you may have a difficult time gauging your position on the road, braking appropriately, or even staying awake.
Blood alcohol content (BAC) levels as low as .02 can reduce your ability to multitask or think clearly. This may come as a surprise to some, since .08 is the legal BAC limit for non-commercial drivers, but alcohol can affect your senses after only a single drink.
Local Minnesota DUI Lawyers
Don’t let things get out of control. We have the experience to assist you, the right way. Get in contact with us today for a free consultation.