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The potential penalties for a driving while impaired (DWI) conviction in Minnesota can vary. If you’re asking, What is the penalty for DWI in Minnesota? Under the law, a DWI conviction could qualify as either a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the circumstances, and therefore carry different penalties.

In Minnesota, prosecutors apply something known as aggravating factors to DWI in each case. The more aggravating factors are present, the higher degree of DWI penalties a defendant may face. The most common aggravating factor is a prior DWI conviction in the previous 10 years.

If you have been arrested for DWI in Minnesota, the attorneys at Gerald Miller can review your case and advise you on the potential penalties you might face. During your initial consultation, we can also advise you on your chances of beating the DWI charges against you. Call right away to learn more.

First Offense DWI

A first-offense DWI typically carries the lightest penalties upon conviction. The penalties for a first-time offender will depend in part on their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at the time of their arrest. A defendant with a BAC below 0.16 will face up to 90 days in jail and as much as a $1,000 fine. These cases typically result in no additional jail time. A first-time offender with a BAC of 0.16 or more could face up to one year in jail and a fine of no more than $3,000. This higher penalty also applies to motorists that refuse to submit to a chemical test.

Second Offense DWI

For a second offense, drivers with a BAC under 0.16 could face up to 90 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. In cases where the defendant either refused to submit to a chemical test or had a BAC of 0.16 or above, they could face up to one year in jail and a maximum fine of $3,000. This jail time could result in electronic home monitoring, incarceration in the county jail, or time in a workhouse.

Third Offense DWI

Like a first and second offense, third-offense DWI charges are typically treated as misdemeanors. For that reason, the maximum penalties for a third offense DWI are similar. For a third offense, a conviction carries up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $3,000. There is no differentiation in penalties based on the driver’s BAC levels.

Fourth and Subsequent DWI

Fourth and subsequent DWI convictions are treated as felonies under Minnesota law. The difference between misdemeanor and felony penalties are substantial. In this case, a felony DWI conviction could result in up to 7 years in prison and a fine of no more than $4,000. This sentencing range is in effect no matter the driver’s BAC level or if they refused to submit to a chemical test.

Collateral Consequences

There are other consequences that can come with a DWI other than jail time and fines. The most prominent example involves administrative penalties against your driver’s license. Every DWI conviction will lead to some form of suspension of your driving privileges. For a first-time offender, the suspension could last 90 days.

Third or subsequent offenses could see your license covered as “inimical to public safety.” You could also face years of mandatory ignition interlock device use when you are eligible to drive again. In some cases, the state may even move to seize your vehicle through a civil lawsuit.

There are other collateral consequences that can follow every DWI conviction. Because your criminal record can be accessed by the public, potential employers and landlords could hold a DWI against you. Felony DWI convictions carry their own collateral consequences as well. These include the potential loss of your right to vote or own firearms.

Speak with an Attorney about DWI Penalties in Minnesota

Any DWI conviction can have a harmful impact on your personal and professional life. Jail time and fines are one thing, but collateral consequences that can follow you for the rest of your life is another.

The attorneys of Gerald Miller could help you avoid these consequences. DWI cases are often defensible, and we can advise you on your best chance for an acquittal. If you are ready to discuss your legal options, contact Gerald Miller right away to schedule your free consultation.

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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