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Understanding Multiple DUI Offense Penalties

No one looks forward to the process of facing a conviction for driving while impaired (DWI). Every criminal offense should be taken seriously, but multiple DUI offense penalties in a short period of time can lead to life-altering consequences.

While not always the case, judges often provide a degree of leniency for first-time offenders in DWI cases. Mistakes can happen, and few people face additional jail time for their first offense after the initial arrest. The same cannot be said for multiple offenses.

The penalties for multiple DWI offenses should not be underestimated. Thankfully, you will only face these penalties if you are convicted. The right DWI lawyer could help you fight back and avoid a conviction. Reach out to the attorneys of Gerald Miller today to learn more about fighting back.

Statutory Penalties for Multiples DWI Convictions

The primary penalties associated with multiple DWIs come from the state statute. These statutory penalties include incarceration, monetary fines, or a combination of the two. These offenses are governed by Minnesota Statute Section 169.20.

The statute sets out a different range of penalties for second and subsequent DWI convictions. These penalties are based not only on the number of prior convictions you have but also the presence of other factors like the refusal to submit to a chemical test.

It is also important to remember that not all previous DWI convictions are treated equally. A previous misdemeanor conviction must have occurred in the previous 10 years in order for it to have an automatic effect on your current DWI charges. However, any prior felony conviction will impact your case dramatically. If you have previously been convicted of felony DWI, all future DWI charges will also be treated as felonies.

Jail Time

For most people arrested for their second or subsequent DWI, the prospect of incarceration is often at the forefront of their minds. While many people avoid additional jail time for a first-offense DWI, those with second or subsequent convictions are not always so lucky.

  • Second DWI. A second DWI conviction in 10 years carries a maximum jail term of one year. However, this offense also includes a minimum mandatory sentence as well. This minimum sentence must be at least 30 days of incarceration, with at least 48 hours served consecutively in jail or a workhouse. An additional 8 hours of community service must also be performed for each of the 30 days that is not served in jail.
  • Third DWI. Like a second DWI, the third DWI has a maximum jail term of one year. The important difference is the minimum sentence. A person convicted of their third DWI in 10 years must serve at least 90 days of jail, 30 of which must be in a jail or workhouse.
  • Fourth and Subsequent DWIs. Any person charged with a fourth or subsequent DWI in 10 years is charged with a felony. The same is true for anyone with a prior felony DWI conviction. If convicted, this offense carries up to seven years in prison. There are mandatory minimums with these offenses too. A fourth DWI requires at least 180 days of incarceration, 30 days of which must be served consecutively in jail. A fifth DWI requires one year of incarceration, with at least 60 days served consecutively behind bars.


While the risk of jail time is the primary concern of most people charged with multiple DWIs, there are serious potential fines associated with these offenses as well. These fines can have a notable impact on your finances at a time when you might be struggling with anything from legal fees to the lack of employment.

The maximum fine for second and third-time offenders is the same. In each of these cases, which are treated as gross misdemeanors, the maximum fine a judge can assess is $3,000. This amount rises substantially when it comes to felony cases. If you are convicted of felony DWI, your fine could be as much as $14,000.

License Revocation and Other Administrative Consequences

For most people, the threat of jail time is the most pressing concern following a second or subsequent DWI arrest. However, there are also significant administrative penalties that could also impact your life. These penalties could cost you your ability to drive or even your vehicle. As is the case with statutory penalties, these consequences tend to scale with the number of prior convictions you have.

The administrative consequences of a DWI arrest occur outside of the criminal justice system. The most common administrative penalty associated with DUI offense penalties is the loss of your driving privileges. In fact, your license could be revoked before you have ever been convicted of a crime.

Administrative License Revocation (ALR)

All drivers are presumed to have given consent to submit to a chemical test when they are suspected of drunken driving. Motorists that either fail these tests or refuse to participate in them can have their driving privileges revoked immediately. This revocation can occur even though you have not been convicted of any crime. The period of revocation for multiple DUI offense penalties includes:

  • 2nd DWI: No less than revocation for one year
  • 3rd DWI: No less than revocation for three years
  • 4th DWI: No less than revocation for four years
  • 5th and subsequent DWIs: No less than revocation for six years

All is not lost when it comes to these revocations. If you request a hearing in a timely manner, your attorney could fight back against your revocation. If you are successful, you could regain your driving privileges before your criminal case ever goes to trial. The hearings associated with your revocation could also provide useful insight into the evidence the state is likely to use against you.

Plate Impoundment

In addition to the revocation of your license, the police could also impound the plates on the vehicle involved in the arrest. The person charged with DUI offense penalties could also lose the plates to all of their vehicles licensed in the state. It is against the law to attempt to evade the plate impoundment.

Vehicle Forfeiture

In extreme cases, law enforcement could seek the forfeiture of the vehicle involved in the DWI arrest. Forfeiture is usually only pursued in cases where the accused has two or more prior convictions.

There is a civil process that must occur before the police can seize your vehicle. You must be given notice of the administrative hearing, and you have the right to appeal an adverse decision. You are also entitled to hire legal counsel to represent you.

Unlike with license plates, only the vehicle used in the commission of a DWI is subject to forfeiture. A forfeiture is only an option against an owner that was not a driver if they were aware that the driver was impaired at the time they were operating it and allowed them to continue.

Collateral Consequences for Multiple DWIs

There are also collateral consequences that apply to all DUI Offense Penalties. Some of these consequences are substantially worse for multiple offenses. If you are convicted of felony DWI, you could lose certain constitutional rights. This includes the loss of the right to vote or own firearms.

Non-felony DWI convictions can also lead to collateral consequences. These consequences might not stem directly from a conviction, but the impact is still significant. For example, you could lose employment opportunities following a DWI conviction. Multiple convictions are even more likely to result in lost job opportunities.

You could also face challenges related to your housing. A property owner has no obligation to ignore your criminal history when you apply to lease a property. Someone with multiple DWI convictions could be rejected by some landlords.

Contact Attorney Gerald Miller Today About Your DWI Case

If you are facing a second or more DUI Offense Penalties in Minnesota, it is imperative that you seek out legal counsel right away. Taking on your case without the guidance of an attorney could increase your chances of a bad outcome. Do not risk your future by acting as your own attorney.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller are ready to help you aggressively pursue acquittal of your DWI charges. Instead of attempting to resolve your case on your own, reach out as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation with our firm.

Related Content: What Is the Penalty for DWI in Minneapolis

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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