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How Much Does a DWI Cost in Hennepin County?

For most people, the primary concern following an arrest under suspicion of driving while impaired (DWI) is the risk of jail time. While incarceration is rightly the top priority for most people, it is impossible to understate the potential financial impact of the DWI cost in Hennepin County as well. In Minnesota and Hennepin County, fines range from $1000 to $14,000, but there is a hefty additional cost for things like court-ordered classes and towing.

In fact, there are costs associated with merely being arrested with DWI. Even if you are ultimately acquitted of the charge, the financial costs you bear could be more than you were prepared for.

Working with a dedicated Hennepin County DWI defense lawyer could put you in the position to avoid many of the economic costs of a DWI conviction. To learn more about how skilled legal counsel could help, schedule a free consultation with Gerald Miller as soon as possible.

The Average DWI Cost in Hennepin County

Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine the average financial impact a DWI arrest or conviction can have on a person. Much of this information is not public, and two cases could differ substantially from each other.

According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, different offense will have different fines:

  • First Offense: $1,000 – $3,000 fine
  • Second Offense: $3,000 fine
  • Third Offense: $3,000 fine
  • Fourth or More Offense: $$14,000 fine


While it is possible to estimate the maximum amount of fines you could face, many of the hidden costs of a DWI case are much higher than the total amount of fines you could owe.

As experienced DWI Defense lawyers in Hennepin County, we have considered the potential costs related to a DWI arrest as well as a conviction below.

Costs Related to a DWI in Hennepin County

Some of the costs of a DWI case are entirely unrelated to your conviction or acquittal. These costs are tied to your arrest, and many are entirely unavoidable.

Impound and Towing Costs in Hennepin County

When you are pulled over on the side of the road and arrested, law enforcement has a duty to address your vehicle. Unless there is a sober driver available to take the vehicle from the scene, the police will not simply leave your vehicle on the side of the road. Instead, they will tow the car and impound it.

As with many aspects of the court system, you are on the hook for the cost of towing and impounding your vehicle. The tow alone could cost several hundred dollars. The price of impound varies depending on where your car is stored, but impound lots charge an additional fee for each day a car is present. These costs add up quickly.

Hennepin County Attorney Fees

While you are entitled to take on a DWI defense on your own, your best chance of avoiding a criminal conviction is to work with a skilled DWI attorney in Hennepin County. This means that you can expect to pay attorneys’ fees for this representation. The cost of your DWI Defense attorney is more of an investment into your freedom than an expense, however.

When it comes to DWI cases, attorney fees generally come in two forms. Some attorneys will handle a DWI on a flat rate agreement. This means that for a set amount of money paid up front, an attorney will handle a DWI case from beginning to end.

Other attorneys operate using billable hours. With this approach, an attorney tracks the number of hours they spend working on a case and charging their fees based on an hourly rate. Some attorneys will combine these two approaches by handling a DWI case for a flat fee unless it goes to trial, which would trigger them transitioning to billable hours.

Costs Related to a Hennepin County DWI Conviction

Ask any reputed DWI Defense lawyer and they will tell you that other costs only occur with a conviction. The good news is that if your DWI lawyer obtains an acquittal on your behalf, you can avoid these costs.

Hennepin County Court Costs and Fines

There are direct monetary consequences for a DWI conviction that come in the form of fines. These fines are set by statute and require a defendant to pay an amount set by the judge. Additionally, the court can also assess court costs to a defendant. This includes the costs the court shouldered to handle the case.

Insurance Costs in Hennepin County

If you are convicted of DWI, you can expect the cost of your liability insurance premiums to increase dramatically. In fact, you will likely be required to carry a special high-risk policy intended for drivers with a history of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

What’s more, it is possible that you could face these increased costs long before your case is ever adjudicated. If You are involved in an accident related to your DWI arrest, you can expect your premiums to increase based on the collision alone. Drivers with a DWI on their record face much higher insurance costs, on average.

Restitution to Victim of DWI in Hennepin County

Consult any DWI lawyer in Hennepin County, and they will confirm that restitution is the requirement from the court that the defendant pays back an alleged victim for their economic losses.

In DWI cases, this often involves repairing another driver’s vehicle following an accident. If the damage was severe or insurance did not cover the full value of the car, restitution alone could run in the thousands of dollars.

Driver’s License Fees in Hennepin County

If you find your driver’s license is suspended or even revoked due to a DWI, you can expect the state to charge you fees in order to get your license back. You will be entirely responsible for those fees, and you cannot get your license back until you pay them.

Hennepin County Interlock Devices

One of the primary conditions for driving following a DWI conviction is the installation and use of an interlock device. An interlock device prevents a vehicle’s engine from starting unless the driver blows into a tube attached to the steering wheel. If the driver registers a 0.00 BAC result, the car will start. If the driver registers any amount of alcohol on their breath, the vehicle will not drive. What’s more, positive tests are typically reported to the court. This could lead to additional consequences.

Non-Economic DWI Cost in Hennepin County

There are other consequences of a conviction that can hit you in the pocketbook, even if they do not directly result from an act of the court. The most common example is the potential for increased insurance rates due to a DWI conviction. Insurers often cancel policies with drivers convicted of DWI. To obtain insurance and drive again, you can expect to pay a much higher premium.

Because we’re long-time DWI attorneys in Hennepin County, we know that a DWI conviction can also impact your ability to maintain employment. Employers routinely do background checks on prospective employees. A conviction for DWI could cost you a job you already have or prevent you from obtaining a new one.

Even if a criminal conviction on a background check does not cost you your job, other aspects of a DWI conviction could. For instance, you could see the revocation of a professional license. Losing your driver’s license could also impact your ability to maintain a job that requires travel.

Factors That Impact the Cost of a DWI Conviction

The cost from one DWI case could vary from another. There are a number of factors that could directly impact what your DWI costs you in terms of money, time, or other consequences.

The first and most important factor is the number of prior convictions you have. Every previous DWI conviction has the potential to bump up your charge to a higher DWI offense. These higher-level offenses carry steeper maximum penalties, but that is not the only reason the number of prior convictions matter. If you are found guilty of DWI, the court has the power to sentence you within the range of penalties provided by the statute. If you have a prior conviction that is outside of the 10-year lookback period, you could expect the court to sentence you at the higher end of that range.

The cost of a DWI will also increase if your arrest resulted from a motor vehicle accident. Compared to an arrest after being pulled over for a moving violation, a DWI case that stems from an accident could be far more expensive. This is due in part to the potential for restitution. In addition to your costs and fees, you could be on the hook for the cost of the other driver’s vehicle repair expenses or medical bills. Even if they have insurance, you could be responsible for covering their deductible as well as any out of pocket expenses.

The same is true of accidents were someone suffered an injury. This is true not only because of the potential for restitution for that person’s medical bills. An injury could also result in steeper penalties under the law.

The presence of children in the vehicle at the time of your arrest also has the potential to lead to heavier fines. This is true of all of the penalties associated with the offense, including jail time.

Avoiding the Costs of a DWI in Hennepin County

For the most part, the only way to avoid the costs of a DWI in Hennepin County  is to beat the charges. There are multiple ways a DWI case could end in your favor. Following an arrest, the best-case scenario is to have your case dismissed by the prosecutor. This outcome ends your case without the need of facing a risky trial.

Dismissals are never guaranteed and usually require a strong defense. The strongest defense options in these cases usually involve attacking the legality of the traffic stop or the accuracy of the chemical test.

Sometimes, the evidence against you is significant. Even a guilty plea could work in your favor if the negotiated terms are favorable. The attorneys of Gerald Miller could help you negotiate for a lower sentence or a lesser charge.

Ultimately, a favorable outcome in some DWI cases will only be possible by winning at trial. Going to trial might bring uncertainty, but an acquittal eliminates any possibility of a monetary fine or other penalties.

Discuss the Your Case with a DWI Charges Lawyer in Hennepin County

It is understandable if the potential DWI cost in Hennepin County feels overwhelming. For many, these costs represent an extreme financial hardship. Despite these challenges, some of these costs are avoidable.

By working with a skilled DWI Defense lawyer in Hennepin County, you could improve your chances of avoiding a conviction and the financial difficulties that come with them. Remember: you will not owe any court costs, fines, or restitution if you are acquitted.

The DWI attorneys at Gerald Miller are ready to aggressively pursue a strong defense on your behalf. If successful, your financial burden could be reduced substantially. Call us right away at (612) 448-9231 to learn more and get a free consultation.

About the author

Kyle Dreger

Kyle Dreger is a skilled DUI/DWI and Criminal Defense lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. Kyle has received his law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. He is also a professionally trained basketball player.

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