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Is a DUI a Felony or Misdemeanor in Minnesota? DUI

Is a DUI a Felony or Misdemeanor in Minnesota?

2 years ago by Brian

You’re probably familiar with the adage “Don’t drink and drive” or the tagline “Over the limit, under arrest.” Each of those phrases relates to driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or “DUIs.” A DUI—better known in Minnesota as “driving while impaired” or DWI—is a serious crime, and you may be wondering whether DUIs carry a felony or misdemeanor offense in Minnesota. Thankfully, the experts at JS Defense can help you understand this area of the law better—and get you or a loved one the help you need if you’re facing a DUI offense.

Traffic Safety in Minnesota

Before we differentiate between a felony and a misdemeanor, take a moment to understand the gravity of DUI offenses. According to Minnesota’s Office of Traffic Safety, there were 358 deaths on Minnesota roads in 2017. Of those, 72 were related to drunk drivers. Given the life-and-death nature of a DUI offense, the penalties are often severe, ranging from fines, jail time and restrictions on the defendant’s driving privileges.

Criminal Penalties: Felonies and Misdemeanors

DUIs in Minnesota carry varying degrees of punishment and may be either a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony. Misdemeanors are “minor” offenses and generally involve fines or jail time at the county level of less than a year. Gross misdemeanors are similar to misdemeanors but involve higher fines. Felonies are the most serious type of criminal offense and carry large fines and long prison terms.

In Minnesota, A DUI’s criminal penalty depends on whether you refused to take a breathalyzer test and whether any aggravating factors were present. Aggravating factors can mean that your blood alcohol average was greatly above the legal limit, that you had prior DUIs on your record in the last ten years or whether minors were in the vehicle. The following are the DUI degrees:

  • Fourth Degree: Misdemeanor. The punishment could be up to 90 days of jail or $1000 fine.
  • Third Degree: Gross misdemeanor. Punishable by up to one year of jail and a $3000 fine.
  • Second Degree: Same as Third Degree, with the difference between Third and Second Degree being based on aggravating factors.
  • First Degree: Felony. Possible punishment includes up to seven years’ imprisonment and $14,000 in fines.

We Can Help

Facing a DUI can be extremely taxing on your personal and business life. If you or a loved one have been charged with a DUI, put your trust in legal experts who have helped out many in similar circumstances. Call JS Defense and let us get to work on getting you the best possible outcome for your case.

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