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There is no guaranteed method to predict the exact amount of jail time a conviction for driving while impaired (DWI) might bring. While the judge that will oversee your case is constrained by minimum and maximum sentences, they have wide latitude in determining the exact penalty you face should you be convicted.

If you’re asking how much jail time for a DWI in Minneapolis and the state of MN, many first-time offenders avoid jail time entirely following a conviction. In cases involving repeat offenders, jail time is often guaranteed. Even when there are mandatory sentences, the court maintains the ability to adjust the severity of these penalties by allowing options like home confinement.

The most important thing to remember is that a DWI conviction is never guaranteed. If you are successful at trial, you will avoid jail time entirely. Let a Minneapolis DWI defense lawyer of Gerald Miller help you plot a course to prevail in your DWI case.

Possible Jail Time for DWI Convictions in Minneapolis and MN

As is the case with most criminal offenses, there are maximum and minimum sentences for every DWI charge under Minnesota law. State law sets an acceptable penalty range, and it is the job of the judge to set the penalty within that range.

It should come as no surprise that the potential penalties increase for individuals with aggravating factors and prior DWI convictions.

• First Offense. First-time DWI offenders typically face a maximum of 90 days in jail upon conviction. However, that maximum jail term increases to one year in cases where the accused refuses to submit to a chemical test or has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.16 or more. There is no mandatory minimum for this offense, and most first-time offenders avoid additional jail time.

• Second Offense. The maximum penalties for a second DWI are the same as a first offense. Where these charges differ is in the existence of a mandatory minimum. For a second offense, the judge is required to sentence an offender to 30 days incarceration. That number is misleading however, as the court has the power to suspend all but 48 hours of that sentence in exchange for substantial community service.

• Third Offense. A third DWI conviction in 10 years is always treated as a gross misdemeanor. This means that the maximum jail term for a conviction rests at 1 year. However, there is also a 90-day minimum term of incarceration in these cases. The court must order at least 30 of those days served consecutively in a county jail or workhouse.

• Fourth Offense. A fourth DWI in 10 years is always treated as a felony in Minnesota. This means the potential penalties are much higher than with previous offenses. A conviction could carry as much as seven years in state prison. There is also a minimum term of incarceration of 180 days. Of those 180 days, at least 30 must be served consecutively. There is also 5 years of conditional release tied to this offense.

• Fifth and Subsequent Offenses. Fifth and subsequent DWI convictions are always felonies under state law. Like a fourth offense, fifth and subsequence DWI convictions carry up to seven years in state prison. The minimum term requires one year of incarceration, 60 days of which must be served consecutively. There is also five years of conditional release in these cases.

Minneapolis DWI Consequences Other Than Incarceration

Jail time is typically the most severe consequence of a DWI conviction, but it is not the only one. DWI convictions also carry steep fines as well as the possibility of the suspension of driving privileges.

There are also collateral consequences that come with a DWI conviction. These include anything from the loss of voting rights to the inability to maintain employment.

Discuss The Prospects of Your DWI Case with a Minneapolis DWI Lawyer

For most people, the cost of a DWI conviction can be steep. If you are charged with a DWI in Minnesota, fighting back against a conviction could be your best option to protect your future and avoid time behind bars.

You never have to face the challenges of a DWI charge alone. The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to assist you in developing a defense strategy that could help you avoid a conviction entirely. Call right away to schedule your free consultation.

Cody Wright

Cody Wright is a dedicated DWI/DUI lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. in Minnesota. He ensures your voice is heard in a system that often discourages the accused from speaking up. He has received his law degree from Mitchell College of Law.


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