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What Happens After a 3rd DUI in 10 Years in Minneapolis?

In most jurisdictions, multiple convictions for driving while impaired (DWI) will lead to steeper penalties with each offense. Minneapolis is no different. If you are arrested for your third DWI, you can expect to face more serious penalties compared to your first offense.

These penalties vary. While most people focus on the hefty fines and the potential for incarceration, it is helpful to understand that there are other consequences that could be in play as well. Of course, these consequences will only become reality upon a conviction.

An arrest for a third-offense DWI never guarantees a conviction. The attorneys of Gerald Miller have helped countless Minneapolis residents beat their DWI cases and the gross misdemeanor jail time that can come with it. Call right away for your free consultation.


The Penalties for a Third DWI Conviction

The penalties associated a third DWI are similar to those for any of DWI offense. If you are convicted, you risk jail time, fines, the loss of your driving privileges, and other serious consequences. The major difference between these convictions is the severity of these penalties.

It should come as no surprise that the sentence for a third DWI is generally more severe compared to first-time offenders. In addition to gross misdemeanor jail time, you could face much higher fines and license suspensions.

Never forget that these consequences only come following a conviction. If you can beat the DWI charges against you, you could avoid facing any of the consequences for a third-offense DWI in Minneapolis.


Jail Time

For most people, the primary concern following a third DWI arrest is the potential for incarceration. This is a serious offense, and the likelihood of spending time in jail is high if you are convicted.

A third-offense DWI is typically treated as a gross misdemeanor under state law. For a gross misdemeanor, you could face a maximum jail term of one year. The important difference between second and third offenses is the minimum sentence. For a third-offense DWI, the judge must order you to serve at least 90 days. What’s more, many people charged with a third DWI must remain in jail until their first court appearance.



Like with most criminal offenses, there are monetary fines associated with a 3rd DWI. Because a third-offense DWI is treated as a gross misdemeanor, the maximum fine you can face is $3,000. Remember, this fine is only assessed if you are convicted.

There are other monetary costs associated with a third-offense DWI outside of fines. Together, these additional expenses could be a significant financial hardship for anyone convicted of a third DWI in 10 years. For example, there are additional expenses related to:

  • Mandatory treatment costs
  • Chemical dependency assessment fees
  • Bail
  • Plate impoundment fees
  • License examination fees
  • DWI reinstatement fees
  • Ignition interlock device costs


Administrative Suspensions

In addition to criminal penalties, there are also administrative penalties that come with a third DWI. Unlike criminal penalties, these consequences are not dealt out by the courts. Instead, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety is in charge of these penalties. These penalties relate to your driving privileges.

The unusual thing about administrative penalties is that you could face them even though you have not been convicted of a crime. These penalties move quickly, and you could face them before your criminal case has been resolved. In fact, it is not uncommon to receive and administrative suspension but ultimately never be convicted for DWI.

There are different administrative penalties that come with a third DWI. First and foremost, the state could cancel your driver’s license for three years. This requires you to install an ignition interlock device both during and after the cancellation period.

Another administrative penalty involves your license plates. The arresting officer has the power to seize your license plates, forcing you to apply for special “whiskey plates” that identify you as someone with a DWI conviction.

In serious cases, the state could even pursue forfeiture. This means the state could pursue a civil case could result in the forfeiture of the vehicle you were driving at the time of the DWI arrest.


Collateral Consequences

Most—but not all—consequences of a DWI conviction are written into state statute. However, there are things that can impact your life following a third DWI in Minneapolis. These are commonly referred to as “collateral consequences.”

Collateral consequences are not the penalties included in the DWI statute. There is no mention of these penalties in court, and a judge does not hand down these consequences as part of the sentence in a DWI case. While they might not be formal penalties that result from state statute, these consequences are nevertheless very real.

The most common collateral consequence involves your ability to maintain employment. In Minneapolis, employers have the right to discriminate based on your criminal record. If you are convicted of a DWI, there is nothing preventing an employer from firing you or rejecting your application.

The same is true when it comes to securing housing. If you apply to rent a home or apartment, you can expect the landlord to run a background check. There is nothing in the law that prevents landlords from rejecting your application based on a DWI arrest.

It is also possible for you to face different professional consequences for your third DWI. If your line of work requires that you maintain a professional license, a third DWI conviction could result in the suspension or revocation of that license.


What Leads to a Third DWI Conviction?

Although the penalties associated with a third DWI are higher compared to someone with fewer prior convictions, the state has the same burden for securing a guilty verdict in any DWI case. In order to secure a conviction, the state must establish that you were driving, operating, or in control of a motor vehicle while impaired.

It is not hard to understand what constitutes driving or operating a motor vehicle. However, it might not always be clear what it means to be in control of a motor vehicle while impaired. The law includes this language to expand DWI beyond being caught in the act of driving. Being in control of a motor vehicle means having the ability to drive it in a moment’s notice.

Most of the time, being in actual physical control of a vehicle means being within the vehicle with the keys in the ignition. In some cases, simply being in or near the car with the keys in your possession is enough to secure a conviction for DWI.


Understanding the Lookback Period

It is important to understand that there are limits on the previous DWI convictions that the state can use against you. Just because you have two prior DWIs in the past does not mean you will be facing a third-offense DWI charge. This is thanks to something known as the “lookback” period.

The lookback period is used by state prosecutors to ensure that only recent convictions are held against you. The purpose is to prevent a person with decades-old DWI convictions to have the penalties in a subsequent DWI arrest elevated unreasonably.

Under state law, the lookback period is 10 years. That means that the state will only consider any DWI convictions in the ten years prior to the current arrest. There are exceptions for felony DWIs, however. The police can always use a prior felony DWI against you no matter how old it might be.


Talk to an Attorney About Your Third DWI

If you are facing your third DWI, it is understandable if you feel as though a conviction is inevitable. Thankfully, you have the right to fight back. Our DWI Attorneys have a long track record of success when it comes to winning DWI cases, and we might be able to secure a favorable outcome in your case.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller are focused on defending the accused in Minneapolis. If you are concerned about a third DWI and the gross misdemeanor jail time that comes with it, now is the time to seek legal counsel. Reach out as soon as possible to schedule your free consultation.

About the author

Kyle Dreger

Kyle Dreger is a skilled DUI/DWI and Criminal Defense lawyer at Gerald Miller P.A. Kyle has received his law degree from the University of St. Thomas School of Law. He is also a professionally trained basketball player.

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