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DWI Facts You Should Know About DUI, DWI

DWI Facts You Should Know About

1 year ago by Justin M. Schiks
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DWI Penalties and Defenses in Minnesota


If you’re arrested for driving while intoxicated in Minnesota, you may want to know your rights and options. Therefore, it’s important to contact a DWI attorney immediately to ensure a fair legal defense.


DWI is charged as a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony, depending on the circumstances of the crime. Therefore, the penalties will vary depending on the charge. 


Whether you’re charged with a misdemeanor or felony, the offense can lead to serious consequences. So, you’ll need to have a DWI attorney to help you with your defense.


Breaking Down the Penalties

If you drive with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, you can be charged with DWI. The following information defines the charges for DWI for misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony offenses.


Misdemeanor DWI Penalties

If you test with a BAC between 0.08% and 0.16%, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor offense. You may also receive this charge if this is your first DWI. Penalties may include:


  1. A maximum sentence of 90 days in jail.
  2. Up to $1,000 in court-issued fines
  3. The suspension of driving privileges for 90 days
  4. License Restrictions


Gross Misdemeanor DWI Penalties

If you’re caught driving with a BAC of 0.16% or higher, you’ll be charged with a gross misdemeanor offense. You may also receive this charge if you cause another party bodily harm while intoxicated or have children in your vehicle. Penalties for this offense may include:


  1. Up to a year in jail
  2. Up to a $3,000 fine
  3. Suspension of driving privileges for a year
  4. Driving with an ignition interlock device
  5. The impoundment of your license plates or vehicle forfeiture


Felony DWI Penalties


If you’re charged with a felony DWI, you must meet one of the following criteria:


  1. You’ve received three or more DWI convictions within the past 10 years
  2. You were previously convicted of a DWI felony
  3. You caused death or serious injury to another party or an unborn child


The penalties for a felony DWI may include:


  1. Up to seven years in prison
  2. The payment of a $14,000 fine
  3. The cancellation of your license – as inimical to public safety (or controlling a vehicle without endangering others)
  4. The impoundment of your license plates or vehicle forfeiture


DWI Penalties for Commercial Drivers

As a commercial driver, your legal limit for intoxication is 0.04%. If you have a class A, B, or C commercial driver’s license (or CDL) and operate a commercial vehicle, you can get your commercial driving privileges revoked for a year following a DWI arrest.


Moreover, if you’re hauling hazardous materials at the time of your arrest, your CDL may be suspended for three years.


Also, your CDL may be disqualified for one year if you refuse to test for alcohol or drugs, or if you’re convicted of DWI when operating another type of vehicle. 


Types of Legal Defenses in DWI Cases

Your lawyer may present one of three legal defenses in defending a DWI arrest. Below is a review of the three main types of defenses.


The suspect was not physically controlling the car


To be convicted of DWI, you have to be in physical control. Sometimes, the police will allege you were in physical control of the car if you were sleeping in the driver’s seat and had the keys on your person or in the ignition. 


They may also make this allegation if you were sitting on the passenger side with the keys on your person. If you were standing close to the car and held the keys, the police might also charge you with DWI.


Even if these allegations are made, it does not mean you were in physical control of the car or were driving the vehicle when you were impaired. That’s why it’s imperative to consult with an experienced legal advisor if any of the above scenarios apply to you.


You consumed alcohol after you drove your car

Post-driving consumption might also be used as a legal defense for DWI. In this case, your lawyer might argue that you did not drink alcohol when driving the car but drove the car before you consumed alcohol.


The police did not allow your request for a second test

If you’re given a blood, breath, or urine test for alcohol consumption in Minnesota, you’re also allowed to ask for a second test. For example, if you’re given a breath test, you can also ask for a blood test. However, a private company must test for alcohol in the blood. 

If you require a second test, the police must make phone access available so you can schedule a second test. If this isn’t done, the first test, by law, is suppressed.


Contact a Woodbury MN DWI Defense Attorney Now

As you can see, the penalties and defenses for DWI are not cut-and-dried. That is why you need the services of a DWI defense attorney when you’re arrested for DWI. Learn more about your rights. Get the help you need now and contact JS Defense today. Call: 651-362-9426


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This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney Justin M. Schiks who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a personal injury attorney.

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