Driving While Impaired
Driving While Impaired (DWI) in Minnesota is defined as driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .10 or higher. In Minnesota, you can be charged with one or more counts of four degrees of DWI violations, separated by the number and severity of the "aggravating factors" in your case.
A prior impaired driving incident (conviction or impaired driving related loss of license within 10 years).
Driving with a BAC of .20 and above.
Driving impaired with a passenger under the age of 16.
First Offense DWI Penalties
The most common charge is a fourth degree DWI, meaning that you have no prior DWI license revocations, you agreed to take the requested tests, and your BAC was below .20.
A fourth degree offense is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, and a license suspension of 90 days.
Third Degree DWI is charged if there is one (1) aggravating factor or if the driver refused to take the breath, blood or urine test and it is a first offense.
A third degree offense is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine, and a probable license suspension of six months. The state may also impound the license plates of the driver and seek to forfeit the vehicle that was being driven. Again, the statute requires law enforcement to hold the DWI suspect in jail until the first court appearance if any of the above mentioned aggravating factors exist. two
Second Degree DWI is charged if there are two (2) aggravating factors.
A second degree offense is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine, and a probable license suspension of six months. The state may also impound the license plates of the driver and seek to forfeit the vehicle that was being driven . Law enforcement to hold you in jail until the first court appearance if any of the above mentioned aggravating factors exist.
First Degree DWI is charged if there are three (3) or more aggravating factors.
A first degree offense is a felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a $10,000 fine, and a probable license suspension of six months. The state will also impound the license plates of the driver and may also seek a forfeiture of the driver's vehicle. The State will retain the vehicle without any compensation to you.
If you refuse to take requested blood breath, urine, or blood tests, you may be facing a gross misdemeanor or even a felony equivalent to second or first degree DWI. Your license will likely be immediately seized or invalidated, and suspended for one year.
A DWI has civil penalties in addition to the criminal penalties. That usually means license revocations or suspensions. The Commissioner of Public Safety will revoke the person's license or permit to drive, or nonresident operating privilege as follows:
For a period of 30 to 90 days for a first offense with a BAC less than .20.
For six months if the driver is under the age of 21 years.
Reinstating Driving Privileges
To reinstate your driving privileges, you must:
Pass a written test that has specific DWI related questions. The Minnesota DWI test is based on Chapter 4 of the Minnesota Driver's Manual. You should obtain a copy of this manual for review before taking the test.
Pay a reinstatement fee of $680.00.
Fill out an application to reinstate your license and pay another $18.50 as a reapplication fee.
Alcohol Treatment Program:
You may have to attend a seminar on how alcohol affects your body and driving ability. You may have to submit to a chemical assessment, and complete other alcohol or substance abuse treatment, depending on your BAC and other aggravating factors.
A commercial driver is subject to the same charges and penalties outlined above, whenever you have a BAC of .04 or above.
If you are under 21 and have any alcohol at all in your system, your license will be suspended for six (6) months, and you are subject to the same criminal penalties as an adult (see above).
Depending on your driving record, you may qualify for a Limited License. This will allow you to drive to and from work only. Remember, any temporary license you may have received upon arrest is only good for seven days.
Insurance companies are not automatically notified of tour arrest and/or conviction. However, if you insurance company discovers a DWI conviction during a random check, your insurance rates will skyrocket. Drivers with DWI convictions are often placed on "risk" insurance where the rates may be as high as $600 per month. In some cases, the insurance company will drop the driver as an insured on the first renewal date. Secondary carriers may be even more expensive.