First Offense at Minnesota DWI Penalties



Drivers in Minnesota can be charged with a DWI if their blood alcohol concentration or BAC is .08 percent or higher regardless of whether or not their driving is actually impaired. For drivers under 21, any amount of alcohol is enough for a DWI charge. The law in Minnesota also states that anybody who is in control of a moving a parked motor vehicle has given consent to submitting to a test to determine their BAC. Those who refuse to submit to such a test can have their driver’s licenses revoked for one year.

Driving while intoxicated is obviously a very serious charge throughout the United States, and Minnesota is no exception. Every year, over 30,000 people are arrested for DWI, and depending on their driving records and the circumstances of their arrest, they may face harsh Minnesota DWI penalties.

First Offense

Drivers who are charged with a DWI in Minnesota face both criminal penalties and administrative sanctions. A first offense is considered either a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor depending on several issues. A BAC of under .20 percent is a misdemeanor and carries a penalty of 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine. If there is a child in the car, the charge is upgraded to a gross misdemeanor that can result in one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine. This penalty also applies to drivers who have a BAC of more than .20 percent. If the driver has a BAC of .16 percent with a child in the vehicle, the vehicle can be forfeited. A refusal to take a test to determine one’s BAC can result in one year in prison.

On the administrative side, a driver can have his or her license revoked for 90 days if their BAC is under 0.16 percent. This can be reduced to 30 days with a guilty plea of DWI. If the driver’s BAC is higher than 0.16, their license can be revoked for one year. If a child is in the car, the vehicle can be forfeited and its license plates can be impounded.

Second and Third Offenses

The Minnesota DWI penalties faced for a second DWI offense are much like those faced for a first offense. The only major difference is that driving privileges can be revoked for up to two years for drivers with a BAC of over 0.16 percent. The vehicle’s license places are also impounded.

A third offense carries most of the same criminal offenses as the first and second offenses. The only major difference is that the driver can be charged with a DWI if they have any amount of alcohol in their system. The driver’s license is also cancelled as “inimical to public safety.”

Fourth Offense

A fourth DWI is considered a felony in the state of Minnesota that can result in a seven-year prison sentence and/or a $14,000 fine. This applies to any additional offenses as well.

Felony DWI

In order to be charged with a felony DWI in Minnesota, a driver must have had his or her fourth DWI conviction within 10 years of their most recent offense, have been charged with a felony DWI before or have had a previous felony conviction involving an impaired-driving offense like criminal vehicular homicide or injury. Maximum penalties for these offenses include a 10-year prison sentence and/or a fine of $20,000.

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