For most people, the primary concern following an arrest under suspicion of DWI is the risk of jail time. While incarceration is usually top priority for most people, the potential financial impact of a DWI conviction can be devastating. The financial impact is one very important reason you might ask, How much does a DWI cost in Minnesota?
In fact, there are costs associated with merely being arrested with DWI. Even if you are ultimately acquitted, the financial costs you bear could be more than you were prepared for.
Working with a Minnesota DWI defense attorney 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 Cost of a DWI in Minnesota
Unfortunately, it is impossible to determine the average financial impact a DWI arrest or conviction can have. Much of this information is not public, and two cases could differ substantially from each other. While it is possible to estimate the maximum amount of fines you could face, there are many hidden costs. The hidden costs of a DWI case could be much higher than the total amount of fines you could owe. As experienced DWI Defense lawyers, we have considered the potential costs related to a DWI arrest as well as a conviction below.
Costs Related to a DWI Arrest in Minnesota
Some of the costs of a DWI case are entirely unrelated to your conviction or acquittal. These costs are tied to your DWI arrest, and many are entirely unavoidable.
Impound and Towing Costs in MN
When you are pulled over on the side of the road and arrested, law enforcement has a duty to address your vehicle. A sober driver may be able to take the vehicle from the scene. If there is no sober driver, the police will not simply leave your vehicle on the side of the road. Instead, they will tow the car and impound it.
You are on the hook for the cost of towing and impounding your vehicle. The tow alone could cost several hundred dollars, but the price of impound depends on where your car is stored. Impound lots also charge an additional fee for each day a car is present. These costs add up quickly.
Minnesota DWI Attorney Fees
While you are entitled to take on a DWI defense on your own, it might not be your best option. Your best chance of avoiding a criminal conviction is to work with a skilled DWI attorney. This means that you can expect to pay attorneys’ fees for this representation. Think of the cost of your DWI Defense attorney as more of an investment into your freedom than an expense.
There are two approaches to attorney’s fees that most DWI defense attorneys take. These approaches include the use of billable hours or flat fees. Attorneys that bill by the hour keep track of every minute they spend defending against a DWI charge or other criminal offense. Then, they apply their hourly rate to determine what their client owes. Often, the billable hours approach is used in conjunction with a retainer. The retainer is a pool of money paid to the attorney that they can draw from as they earn their fee.
Other attorneys offer flat fees for certain types of cases. This is common for many DWI defense attorneys who might handle a high volume of these offenses.
Finally, some attorneys rely on a hybrid approach depending on the progress of the case. For example, an attorney might agree to take a case for a flat fee as long as it results in a dismissal or plea bargain. If the case is likely to go to trial, the attorney could charge either a higher flat fee or begin billing by the hour. It is best to talk to a prospective attorney about their billing practices during a free consultation.
Paying Bail for a DWI in Minnesota
Typically, the police will release a person following their DUI arrest in a matter of hours. This is typically done to ensure the person is no longer under the influence of any drugs or alcohol prior to their release from jail. However, no one is guaranteed the right to an immediately release. In some cases, a person might have to bail out of jail. The cost of bail could vary from a hundred to several thousand dollars depending on the severity of the charge.
Costs Related to a DWI Conviction in Minnesota
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.
Minneapolis Court Costs and Fines in Minnesota
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.
DWI Restitution in Minnesota
Restitution is the requirement from the court that the defendant pays back an alleged victim for their economic losses. In the case of DWI cases, this often involves repairing another driver’s vehicle following an accident. If the damage was severe or insurance did not cover the car’s full value, restitution could be thousands of dollars.
Driver’s License Fees in Minnesota
You may 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.
Ignition Interlock Devices in Minnesota
One of the primary conditions for driving following a DWI conviction is the installation and use of an interlock device. The 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 Costs in Minnesota
There are other consequences of a conviction, 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.
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 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 Can Impact the Cost of a DWI in Minnesota
Not every DWI case is the same. It should come as no surprise then that the financial burden that comes with a DWI conviction can also vary greatly from one case to another. There are different factors that determine how these costs might deviate from one another.
The Severity of the DWI Charge in Minnesota
Arguably the biggest factor in determining what your DWI arrest and conviction might cost is whether or not you have prior drunk driving related convictions on your record. If this is your first offense, the cost of your arrest and conviction could still be significant. However, these costs can go up dramatically if you have been convicted before.
The fines that come with a DUI conviction increase with each conviction, eventually reaching as much as $7,000 for a felony case. With multiple priors, you could also expect higher bail as well.
Whether or Not a DWI Accident Occurred in Minnesota
Most DUI arrests result from a police stop. However, some DUI cases stem from a motor vehicle collision. A DWI is likely to be much more costly when an accident is involved—especially one where another person suffered an injury.
This is true for a few reasons. First and foremost, an accident that results in injury or death could result in much more severe charges. You could see what would normally be treated a misdemeanor suddenly upgraded to a felony. The cost of restitution could be much higher in these cases as well. If you collide with a pedestrian or other driver, you could be on the hook for their medical bills. You could also be financially liable for any property damage that occurs. This could include damage to another vehicle or a nearby building that was damaged in the crash.
Accompanying Charges for a Minnesota
Whether or not you were arrested for other charges in addition to DUI is also relevant. The cost of a DWI alone could be considerably less compared to a DWI with a fleeing or resisting arrest charge. These accompanying charges could result in much higher costs, particularly in cases where felony charges are added along with a misdemeanor DUI.
How a DWI Criminal History in Minnesota Can Affect Cost
Your non-DWI related criminal history could also make things more costly for you upon a DUI arrest. If you have a prior criminal record, it may be more likely that you will need to post substantial bail. If your prior record involved a license suspension, the cost of getting your license back could be greater as well.
Discuss the Financial Impact with a Minneapolis DWI Defense Lawyer
It is understandable if the potential costs of a DWI convention feel overwhelming. For many, these costs represent an extreme financial hardship. Despite these challenges, some of these costs are avoidable.
Working with a skilled DWI Defense lawyer could improve your chances of avoiding a conviction and extended financial difficulties. 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) 440-4608 to learn more.