In Minnesota, you do not lose your driver’s license immediately following a DWI arrest. However, the state can begin the process of revoking your driving privileges right away—long before you are ever convicted of a crime.
What’s more, there is also the possibility that you could lose your license following a conviction for DWI. In other words, you must prevail not only during the administrative hearing but also in your criminal case as well in order for you to protect your right to drive.
The attorneys at Gerald Miller understand how important reliable transportation is. We are prepared to help you not only fight the criminal charges against you but also to give you the best chance to prevail on the administrative side as well. Reach out for a free consultation right away to get started.
Administrative Suspension Based on Implied Consent Rules
There is the potential to lose your right to drive following an arrest for DWI. This is possible due to the state’s implied consent laws. While the loss of your license will not happen immediately following your arrest, you could see your right to drive disappear in a matter of days if you do not take immediate action.
The police have the power to initiate the process of an administrative license suspension immediately following your arrest for DWI. Because you could see your license suspended in a matter of days, it is vital that you seek legal counsel to protect your driving privileges.
There are two situations where the state could pursue the administrative suspension of your driving privileges. While there are only two options, combined they apply to virtually all DWI arrests. First, the police can seek administration suspension of your driving privileges if you failed a blood, breath, or urine test following a DWI arrest. Second, you could also see your license suspended if you refuse to submit to a chemical test in violation of the state’s implied consent laws.
What are Implied Consent Laws in Minnesota?
Like all states, Minnesota has something known as “implied consent” laws. Implied consent applies to anyone who drives, operates, or is in actual physical control of a motor vehicle within the boundaries of the state. According to implied consent laws, you give your implied consent to submit to blood, breath, or urine testing in order to determine if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol while driving.
Although the law applies to blood, breath, or urine samples, the same standard does not apply across the board. Law enforcement has the right to require you to submit to a breath test without first seeking a warrant from a judge. That is not the case with blood or urine testing, given that the courts find these options more invasive.
The police can also not seek a breath test or a warrant for a blood or urine test for no reason. They must have probable cause to believe you were driving while impaired by drugs or alcohol. This usually involves one of the various signs of intoxicated driving the police cite during court proceedings, like:
- Weaving across lanes
- Driving well below the speed limit
- Admitting to using drugs or alcohol
- Smelling alcohol on your breath
- Failure on field sobriety tests
- Failure on portable breath tests
Once an officer has probable cause, they can require you to submit to a breath test. If you refuse to do so, there are consequences that can come into play. One of those consequences is the administrative suspension of your driving privileges.
The Administrative Suspension Process in Minnesota
It is important to understand the process the state will follow to administratively suspend your driving privileges. First and foremost, the state can begin this process even if you have never been convicted of a crime. These suspensions are administrative, meaning the rights that apply in criminal cases will not protect you.
In fact, the officer who arrests you will seize your driver’s license at the time of your arrest. That does not mean your right to drive is gone as well—at least, not immediately. When the arresting office seizes your physical license, they will replace it with a temporary paper license. This temporary license gives you seven days to drive before your administrative suspension goes into effect.
While it is possible for a suspension to go into effect after only seven days, you also have the right to appeal your administrative suspension. If you provide the state with notice that you dispute your suspension, you will retain your right to drive until your administrative case is heard.
Your administrative suspension will ultimately be resolved at a hearing. The office will appear and testify, and you will have the chance to speak as well. That said, your attorney is likely to advise you that submitting to questioning at these hearings is not in your best interest. If your attorney can show that the suspension was wrongful, they could help you retain your driving privileges.
Other Administrative Consequences
There are other types of administrative actions the state can take that could impact your right to drive. These actions also have the potential to occur even if you have not yet been convicted of a crime.
One of the most common administrative consequences that can occur following a DWI arrest is plate impoundment. The arresting officer has the ability to issue an impound order. Plate impoundment is the act of physically seizing the license plates of a vehicle following a DWI arrest.
Plate impoundment is not always an option. There must be an aggravating factor present in order for the arresting officer to impound a plate. These aggravating factors could include a Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) or .16 or more, having a minor child present in the vehicle at the time of the arrest, or having a prior DWI conviction on your record.
There is also an administrative process that covers the forfeiture of the entire vehicle, not just the license plate. This is only an option in cases where you are charged with a first-degree DWI or it is your third DWI in the past 10 years. The forfeiture of a vehicle can only happen once the state has successfully secured the administrative suspension of your driving privileges.
How Long Will My Suspension Last in Minnesota?
The length of your license suspension will depend on many different factors. First and foremost, the number of your previous DWI convictions will play an important part in determining the length of your suspension. The baseline revocation periods that apply in these cases include:
- 1st offense. 90 days license revocation
- 2nd offense. One year license revocation
- 3rd offense. License canceled as “inimical to public safety”
- 4th or subsequent offense. License canceled as “inimical to public safety”
What’s more, there are other factors that could impact the length of your revocation. These factors are especially important for first and second offenses. If your BAC was .16 or higher at the time of your arrest, your suspension period can be extended. The same is true if there was a child in the vehicle at the time of your arrest. Finally, refusing to submit to a chemical test could also lead to a lengthier suspension.
For higher-level charges, you could be required to prove you are drug or alcohol-free for a number of years before you can have your license returned to you. What’s more, your only option for retaining your driving privileges might be through an ignition interlock device.
An interlock device requires you to blow into a tube attached to your steering wheel before starting your vehicle. Unless you register a 0.0 BAC, your car will not start.
Talk to Gerald Miller About Your DWI Arrest in Minnesota
There are many different ways an attorney could help you in the aftermath of a DWI arrest. If you are facing the threat of administrative suspension of your driving privileges, our attorneys could help you fight back.
The same is true for your criminal charges. The attorneys of Gerald Miller focus their work on advocating on behalf of those accused of criminal offenses. If you have been charged with a DWI, call right away to schedule your free consultation.