Getting Your License Back After a DUI in Minnesota
If you have been arrested or convicted for driving while impaired (DWI) in Minnesota, you already know that there are steep consequences related to these charges. In addition to possible jail time or fines, a DWI can also cost you the right to drive in the state. The loss of your driving privileges can have a detrimental impact on your personal life, your career, or your education. Thankfully, the state offers ways to get your license back after the revocation period. There could also be options for driving while your privileges are still revoked with the help of a Minneapolis DUI Defense Attorney.
You should always rely on the guidance of an attorney following an arrest for DWI. Not only could your legal counsel guide you through these challenges, but they could also help you defeat the charges against you. Reach out to the attorneys of Gerald Miller today to learn more.
Requirements for Getting Your License Back in Minnesota
The requirements for getting your revoked license back following a DWI are fairly straightforward. Either right away, or once the revocation period has come to an end, the first step is applying for a new license. This requires that you also pay the application fee.
Because your license has been revoked, you are also on the hook for a reinstatement fee. Until you submit proof of payment, you will not be able to secure a new license. Currently, the reinstatement fee is $680. It is possible that the state could require additional steps or paperwork in order for you to obtain your license.
You might be surprised to learn that the process of getting your license back can begin immediately. Many people wait until their revocation period comes to an end before they begin the process of getting their license back. This is a mistake. You have the ability to begin this process right away, which would allow you to start driving as soon as your revocation period begins following the arrest.
As soon as state records reflect that your revocation is pending, you can begin the process of applying for a new license. This includes paying the reinstatement fee and filling out the application. In fact, you can also move forward with having an interlock device installed without waiting on the state as well. Of course, these devices charge month to month usually, so installing the interlock early might not be your best option. You may also qualify for a limited license, commonly referred to as the work permit. Your specific case and situation will dictate which option(s) you can take advantage of.
What Happened to the DWI Knowledge Test?
For years, one of the most frustrating requirements for getting your license back was an examination known as the DWI knowledge test. Even if you have completed your revocation period and met every other qualification, the state would not give you your license back until you successfully completed this exam.
This knowledge test was a multiple-choice examination that covered many basic aspects of driving. The information covered on this exam was primarily pulled from Chapters 7 and 8 of the Minnesota Driver’s Manual. The test could be taken in many locations statewide, including at DMV offices. Until you passed, the state would not allow you to have your license back.
Thankfully, the state has done away with this requirement. In 2021, state law no longer requires motorists convicted of a DWI to take this examination prior to getting their license back. There was little evidence that these tests improved driver safety or had any effect other than making life more difficult for Minnesota drivers.
Can I Drive Before My Revocation Period Ends in Minnesota?
For some people, it is possible to recover some limited driving privileges even though your revocation period has not yet come to an end. First, the ignition interlock discussed above could be an option. Otherwise, some drivers can take advantage of something known as a limited license. The limited license is also commonly known as a work permit.
Not everyone will qualify for a work permit. Your eligibility for this program will depend on a number of factors, starting with your blood alcohol concentration at the time of your arrest. If your blood alcohol concentration was high, you might not be eligible. Your prior criminal history and whether or not you submitted to a breath test are also relevant factors.
If you are ultimately granted a limited license, you are only authorized to operate your vehicle under certain circumstances. For most people, these licenses allow you to drive to and from work, alcohol or chemical dependency treatment programs, and for educational purposes.
The limitations are slightly different for homemakers compared to those who work or go to school full time. Some homemakers are able to secure a limited license that allows them to drive for purposes of obtaining food, medical care, or other family necessities. These limited licenses also usually allow parents to drive their children to school.
Even if you qualify for a limited license, you might not be eligible right away. There is typically some form of the waiting period that must expire before these licenses are an option. For first-time offenders with a blood alcohol concentration below .16 (or even first-time drivers charged with Chemical Test Refusal), the waiting period is typically 15 days following the beginning of the revocation period.
Ignition Interlock Devices Might Be Required in Minnesota
In some cases, getting driving privileges back requires the installation of an ignition interlock device. These devices require you to blow into a tube attached to the steering column of your vehicle each time you get behind the wheel. When you do so, the device registers your blood alcohol concentration. If there is any reading of alcohol on your breath, your vehicle will not start. You could also be prompted to give additional breath samples while driving to ensure you are not drinking behind the wheel. These are called rolling tests.
There are two situations where it is necessary to install an ignition interlock device to get back on the road. The first involves anyone arrested for DWI who registers a blood alcohol concentration of .16 or more. Additionally, repeat offenders must also install an interlock device if they want to drive during their respective revocation time.
There are additional requirements that you must meet before you will qualify for an interlock device. If you fail to meet these requirements, you could be out of luck when it comes to securing a limited driver’s license. These requirements include:
- Complete your application for a new license;
- Paid your reinstatement fee; and
- Signed and submitted your Minnesota Ignition Interlock Program Participation Agreement.
- Have the ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, so proof of installation can be sent to the DPS
You have the right to install the interlock device at any time so long as the process is handled by an authorized party. While the state will issue you a letter approving you to drive, you can install the device ahead of time. Of course, it is important to remember that even with the device installed you are not authorized to drive without approval from the state.
The amount of time you must use the interlock device can vary. Most of the time, it will depend on how long your revocation period is. When you receive your letter of approval from the state, it will spell out how long you must rely on this device to drive. It is also possible the amount of time the interlock device is necessary can increase. If you fail to comply with all of the requirements of your limited license, you might be required to keep the device installed for more time.
The use of ignition interlock devices is not free. If you intend to install this device in your vehicle, you are responsible for the related costs. There is an installation fee of as much as $100 or more to get started. Additionally, each of the authorized interlock companies will charge a lease fee monthly.
Contact Minneapolis DUI Defense Attorney About Your DWI Arrest
Dealing with the consequences of a DWI can be frustrating. The good news is that it might not be necessary to face these consequences at all. If you take on the prosecution with the help of a Minneapolis DUI defense attorney and prevail in your DWI case, you could be acquitted of the charges against you.
The attorneys of Gerald Miller have a strong track record of winning these cases. If you are ready to let us put our experience to work for you, now is the time to reach out. Schedule a free consultation with the attorneys of Gerald Miller as soon as possible.
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