DWI In Minnesota – Criminal Component

Protecting Your Rights Throughout The Criminal Component Of A DWI Case In Minnesota

Driving while impaired (DWI) cases in Minnesota have a civil component and a criminal component. The civil component of the case is the implied consent hearing, the proceeding in which, after the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has revoked, canceled or suspended your Minnesota driving privileges, you can contest the legitimacy of that revocation, suspension or cancellation. The criminal component of the case can result in a criminal record, jail time, fines and court costs.

There are further issues that arise for those carrying a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and for those under the age of 21. At Vogel Law Firm, we are here to help you understand the consequences that you are facing after a DWI arrest. Our lawyers can walk you through the process of how the criminal case is handled as well as provide you with information on the implied consent hearing that takes place after a DWI arrest.

The Specifics Of The Criminal Component

Under Minn. Stat. § 169A.20, it is a crime to drive, operate or be in physical control of a motor vehicle anywhere within the state or on the ice of any boundary water under any of the following conditions:

  • The person is under the influence of alcohol.
  • The person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is at .08 or more.
  • The person’s BAC is .08 or more within two hours of the time of driving, operating or being in physical control of the motor vehicle.
  • The person’s BAC is .04 or more at the time, or within two hours of the time, of driving, operating or being in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle.
  • The person is knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance that affects the nervous system, brain or muscles of the person so as to substantially impair the person’s ability to drive or operate the motor vehicle.
  • The person’s body contains any amount of a controlled substance listed in Schedule I or II other than marijuana.
  • First-offense DWI within 10 years is a misdemeanor.
  • Second and third offenses within 10 years are gross misdemeanors.
  • Fourth or more offenses within 10 years is a felony.

There are four degrees of impaired driving offenses in Minnesota. They range from fourth-degree DWI (misdemeanor) to first-degree DWI (felony). Please contact your attorney for further information regarding your DWI charge(s).

Possible Criminal Penalties

  • Fourth-degree DWI:
    • Maximum penalty: Ninety days in jail and/or $1,000 fine
    • Alcohol problem assessment for Minnesota licensed drivers
  • Third-degree DWI:
    • Maximum penalty: One year in jail and/or $3,000 fine
    • Minimum $900 fine
    • Mandatory penalties apply if it is the person’s second offense: Minimum of 30 days incarceration, at least 48 hours of which must be served in a local correctional facility; or eight hours of community service for each day less than 30 that the person is ordered to serve in a local correctional facility. Minn. Stat. § 169A.275, subd. 1(a)(1) & 2
  • Second-degree DWI:
    • Maximum penalty: One year in jail and/or $3,000 fine
    • Minimum $900 fine
    • Mandatory penalties apply if the person has one prior qualified incident: Minimum of 30 days incarceration, at least 48 hours of which must be served in a local correctional facility; or eight hours of community service for each day less than 30 that the person is ordered to serve in a local correctional facility. Minn. Stat. § 169A.275, subd. 1(a)(1) & 2
    • Mandatory penalties apply if the person has two prior qualified incidents: Minimum of 90 days incarceration, at least 30 days of which must be served in a local correctional facility; or a program of intensive supervision described in Minn. Stat. § 169.74 that requires the defendant to consecutively serve at least six days in a local correctional facility. Minn. Stat. § 169A.275, subd. 2(a)(1) & 2
  • First-degree DWI:
    • Felony offense
    • Maximum penalty: Seven years imprisonment and/or a fine of $14,000
    • Minimum: The court must sentence the defendant to imprisonment for at least three years. Minn. Stat. § 169A.276, subd. 1(a). The court may stay execution of this mandatory sentence.
    • If the court executes the mandatory sentence, the court must order that the defendant be placed on conditional release for five years after release from prison. Minn. Stat. § 169A.276, subd. 3
    • If the court does not execute the mandatory sentence, the provisions of Minn. Stat. § 169A.275 apply. Ask your attorney for further clarification regarding this statute.

Vehicle Forfeiture

Under Minnesota DWI law, law enforcement can, in certain circumstances, seize your vehicle. A vehicle will be subject to forfeiture under Minnesota DWI laws when it is used in the commission of a designated offense or designated license revocation as defined by the forfeiture statute. Minn. Stat. § 169A.63, subd. 6.

If you are served with a notice of forfeiture by law enforcement, you have 30 days in which to demand judicial review of the forfeiture as prescribed in Minn. Stat. § 169A.63, subd. 8. If you fail to demand judicial review, the right to judicial determination is lost. Ask your attorney for further information regarding vehicle forfeiture if it applies in your case.

Vehicle License Plate Impoundment

Under Minnesota DWI law, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety can issue a registration plate impoundment order under several circumstances. Ask your attorney for further information regarding license plate impoundment if it applies in your case.

Collateral Consequences

There are several collateral consequences of a DWI conviction. Admissibility to certain countries, like Canada, may be prohibited for those convicted of DWI. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) may take adverse action against a licensed pilot as a result of either a conviction or an implied consent revocation resulting from a DWI.

Talk To Us Now To Learn More

Our attorneys are here to help you through all aspects of your DWI or other criminal case. To schedule a consultation with a member of our highly skilled legal team, call our firm at 866-771-9930 or contact us online.