There are different consequences that are associated with a driving while impaired (DWI) conviction in Minnesota. If you are like most people, your primary concern is avoiding jail time or burdensome fines that can come with a DWI conviction. However, there are other penalties that could also prove costly.
If you are arrested for DWI in Minnesota, it will initiate an administrative process that could cost you your driving privileges. Depending on your prior criminal history, you could lose your license for months or even years to come.
The good news is that—just like with a criminal case—you have the right to defend yourself during these administrative proceedings as well. If you are successful, you could have your driving privileges fully restored. The attorneys of Gerald Miller could advise you on your options for keeping your license after a DWI in Minnesota.
Keeping Your License After an Arrest is Possible in Minnesota
You could keep your license following an arrest on both a temporary or long-term basis following a DWI arrest. In Minnesota, the police will revoke your driving privileges immediately upon arrest for DWI. However, the law does allow you some time to get your affairs in order before you lose your right to drive for longer periods. Everyone who faces a license suspension due to DWI is given a 7-day paper license that allows them to drive. During that seven days, the paper license replaces the actual driver’s license. Unless other arrangements are made,
You might have another option even if you are ultimately convicted of DWI. The state will take your license for the period of time prescribed by law, but the courts have the power to issue you a temporary work permit. With a work permit, you retain the right to drive your vehicle to work, school, or other important meetings like doctor’s appointments.
Of course, the best way to keep your license after a DWI arrest is by avoiding a conviction. The right attorney could not only help you fight back against your criminal charges but also aid you in your defense during administrative proceedings as well. Talk to the attorneys of Gerald Miller right away to learn more.
How Long Will I Lose My License in Minnesota?
How long you lose your driving privileges will depend on the facts that surround your DWI arrest. Your criminal history will also play a role. Keep in mind that not all previous DWI convictions will impact your current suspension. Minnesota has what is known as a 10-year “look back” period. That means only prior convictions during that time period will count.
Most first-time DWI offenders face a 90-day revocation of their driving privileges. These drivers could have that reduced to 30 days with a guilty plea. First-time offenders could face a year-long revocation of their license if they refuse to submit to a chemical test or had a blood alcohol concentration of .16 or greater.
For most second-time offenders, a DWI arrest brings the possibility of a 1-year license suspension. There are additional factors that could double that suspension period to two years. Specifically, a 2-year suspension is appropriate in cases where the driver had a blood alcohol concentration of .16 or refused to submit to a chemical test.
Typically, a third DWI during the 10-year window will lead to a cancellation of your driving privileges that lasts for three years. Cancellation is different from revocation, in that you must first complete an ignition interlock program.
Fourth and Subsequent Offenses
The most severe license suspensions are save for fourth and subsequent offenses. As is the case with a third offense, these drivers will face cancellation of their license as opposed to suspension. A driver arrested for their fourth or subsequent DWI will face a potential cancellation period of six years. This leads to the longest time without the ability to drive and heavy restrictions on driving in the future.
Applying for a Work Permit in Minnesota
Work permits—also referred to as limited licenses—can be a life-saver for anyone that has been arrested under suspicion of DWI. These licenses grant driving privileges to individuals that would otherwise not be allowed to operate a motor vehicle due to their DWI arrest.
There are a number of limitations on how a work permit may be used. Despite the name, there are other circumstances that could allow for you to drive if the courts grant your request for a permit. For example, a permitted driver could drive to substance abuse meetings, college classes, or to provide for the medical needs of yourself or your immediate family. While the court has the option to allow you to drive in other situations, many judges refuse to do so. Most of the time, the court will not authorize more than 60 hours of driving time in a given week.
It is important to note that not everyone will qualify for a work permit. There are different factors that are taken into account at the time you apply. First and foremost, you must either hold gainful employment or serve as a full-time homemaker in order to qualify for a permit. You must also show that ridesharing or bus transportation is not a viable option.
There are other factors that impact your chances of securing a permit. Your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) will play a role. If your BAC was high at the time of your arrest, you are less likely to be awarded a work permit.
Your criminal record will also play a role. If you have multiple prior DWI convictions, you might have to wait longer to qualify for a work permit. In some cases, you might never qualify.
Loss of Driving Privileges for Commercial Drivers in Minnesota
When it comes to the loss of driving privileges, there are also unique consequences for commercial drivers. Anyone that drives a commercial truck for a living must go through additional licensing requirements above and beyond what most motorists must face. For that reason, it should come as no surprise that there are potentially additional consequences for commercial drivers following a DWI arrest.
When a person with an A, B, or C commercial driver’s license is arrested under suspicion of DWI, they do not just face the potential loss of their personal driving privileges. The state will also suspend their ability to operate a commercial vehicle as well. This is true whether the driver was operating a commercial or personal vehicle at the time they were placed under arrest.
A commercial driver will lose their commercial driving privileges for one year in cases where they refuse a test for drugs or alcohol. Likewise, any conviction for DWI will also lead to a 1-year suspension. During that time, drivers are barred from operating commercial vehicles in any capacity. The period is extended to three years if the driver was operating a commercial truck that was hauling hazardous waste at the time they were stopped for driving while impaired.
Facing these consequences could be detrimental to anyone that drives a commercial truck for a living. While finding work after one DWI can be difficult for a commercial driver, it can be impossible following a second DWI. Subsequent issues could result in lifetime disqualification for any commercial driving privileges.
Finally, there are fewer exceptions available to commercial drivers. While a person with a commercial license might be entitled to receive a work permit to operate their personal vehicle too and from work, these permits will not allow a driver to operate a commercial vehicle during that time.
Talk to a Minnesota Attorney About Your DWI Defense
Unlike the risk of jail time or fines, you could be dealing with a potential license revocation without ever being convicted of a crime. What is more, your window of time to fight these administrative penalties is short. Given the time limits you face, it is vital that you seek out legal counsel right away.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller could not only assist you with your DWI defense, but also advocate for you during the administrative suspension as well. If you are ready to fight back against your DWI charge, call Gerald Miller as soon as possible for your free consultation.