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DWI in Minnesota? You face civil punishment, too

You already know you messed up by having one too many drinks and getting behind the wheel.

You already know you’re facing jail time and hefty fines.

But did you know that if you’re convicted of a DWI in Minnesota you could face civil penalties along with heavy criminal punishments?

It’s true. As if you didn’t have enough to worry about before you can put this DWI offense is behind you.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 1.5 million people are arrested in a given year for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. That means that one out of every 121 licensed drivers are typically arrested for drunk driving.

In Minnesota and all 50 states, it is against the law to drive if you have an alcohol content of .08 percent or higher. Even so, for every 88 instances of driving, someone is arrested for operating a motor vehicle above the legal limit. Within two hours of drinking, at any given location in the country, an average of 772 drivers will be arrested for drunk driving, the government agency reports.

In Minnesota, DWI arrests had declined by 40 percent in the last 10 years, according to figures reported by the Office of Traffic Safety, a division of the state’s Department of Public Safety. The 2015 report – the most recent available – showed that there were 25,027 arrests compared with 42,007 in 2006.

While the criminal consequences of a DWI in Minnesota can include jail time and fines, possible civil penalties imposed can include suspension of your driving privileges. What’s more, you could face a civil lawsuit for damages if your DWI resulted in a crash and/or injuries to another motorist or passenger.

Criminal and civil penalties stemming from a DWI in the state of Minnesota can affect your ability to find a new job, obtain an apartment or even quality for federal student financial aid.

Here’s a closer look at both possibilities. You need to be aware of what you are facing if arrested for a DWI in Minnesota.

Criminal Consequences of a Minnesota DWI

You could face jail time and fines if you are convicted of a DWI in Minnesota. The level of each punishment typically depends on the degree of your DWI charge – and whether you have had others on your record – and the facts and circumstances surrounding a first-time offense. For example, if your blood alcohol concentration for a first-time DWI offense was lower than 0.16 percent, you can face up to ninety days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, if during that offense, you also had a child in your car, you can face up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $3,000.

Criminal consequences for a DWI offense might also include probation, alcohol treatment and rehabilitation and chemical dependency evaluations. Typically, it is up to the discretion of the judge and the facts surrounding your case. That is why it is imperative that you seek the help of an experience DWI attorney as soon as you can after your arrest.

Civil Consequences of a Minnesota DWI 

The most crucial and perhaps most life-altering civil consequence of a DWI conviction is the loss of your driving privileges. Even a first-time DWI offense where your BAC is less than 0.16 percent results in some loss of driving privileges for as long as a year.

It’s a hardship, certainly, especially for people who need a vehicle to get to and from work. Some offenders may have the option of installing an ignition interlock device if they want to drive at all during the revocation period. The greater the degree of the offense – and depending on the circumstances of the case – the longer the revocation period. If you’ve been convicted of three or more DWI offenses within ten years (or four offenses in a lifetime), your driver’s license can be cancelled as you may be deemed, according to state law, “inimical to public safety.”

In addition to losing your driving privileges, the civil consequences of a DWI can include vehicle seizure and license plate impoundment. The State of Minnesota can seize or take your vehicle or impound your plates under certain circumstances, and in many cases, this might occur if it is your second, third, fourth, or subsequent offense. However, vehicle seizure and plate impoundment can occur even if it is your first DWI offense, specifically if your BAC is over 0.16 percent and you have a child in your vehicle.

Strong legal representation is imperative when facing civil DWI penalties in Minnesota. Speak to an experienced DWI attorney immediately.

Minnesota DWI Criminal Defense Lawyer

Everyone deserves the right to the best defense available and this is why an experienced attorney serving the Minnesota, including the Minneapolis metro area is absolutely vital.

DWI and DUI are serious offenses. In addition to the danger you pose to yourself and others, you also expose yourself to severe penalties including a heavy fine, court costs, insurance surcharges, motor vehicle surcharges, loss of license and even a jail term. Since these penalties are significant and create a negative record that could affect your ability to get a job, obtain insurance and generally get on with your life, you should consult an experienced attorney who is dedicated to the field of DWI and DUI defense.

At Gerald Miller, we focus on DWI and DUI cases and ensure you receive the best legal representation from the moment you contact us. We will look at all aspects of your case in great detail. You need this level of legal counsel because driving under the influence cases can be the most difficult ones in which to obtain a successful outcome.

A DWI or DUI charge can happen to anybody. We believe everyone should be treated equally.

Call the attorneys at Gerald Miller today at 612-440-4610. Our lines are open 24 hours and we are here waiting to help you NOW. We also can help you with a non-DWI criminal charge and other areas in which skilled legal advice is needed.

The attorneys at Gerald Miller, P.A., will work hard to protect your legal rights. Call us today at (612) 440-3212 and schedule your free and confidential consultation. We are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

About the author

Gerald Miller

Gerald Miller is a top-notch and experienced DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minneapolis, MN. He has more than 35 years of experience in Criminal Defense practice. He has also been a mentor to numerous DUI/DWI defense attorneys.

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