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How Likely is Jail Time for a First DWI in MN? DUI, DWI

How Likely is Jail Time for a First DWI in MN?

2 years ago by Brian
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Whenever you are arrested and charged with a DUI, the possibility of spending time in jail is likely a huge concern. If you are facing a first-time DWI charge in Minnesota, there is always the possibility of a jail sentence, even though it is unlikely in most cases. However, the circumstances of your charges and situation will determine whether you might face jail time. 

The best way to ensure you avoid jail time for your DWI case is to seek help from a DWI defense attorney immediately. 

First DWI Offense

When you are charged with DWI for the first time, it is usually a fourth-degree DWI charge, which is treated like a misdemeanor in Minnesota. Under the law, the possible penalties for this charge include:


  1. $1,000 in fines
  2. Up to 90 days in jail


While the law does allow a judge to sentence someone to jail time for this offense, most judges issue a sentence of probation instead. Having the right defense lawyer can help to ensure that you receive probation instead of a jail sentence if you are convicted or plead guilty to DWI. 

Aggravating Factors

Not every first-time DWI charge is this straightforward. Some come with aggravating factors that escalate the charges, even though it is a first offense. Some of these factors might include:


  • You refused to submit a breath sample for a chemical test
  • Your blood alcohol content (BAC) read .16 percent or higher
  • You had a child in the car under age 16
  • You caused an accident resulting in serious injury or death


In these situations, the DWI charge will be treated like a gross misdemeanor instead of a regular misdemeanor. A conviction might mean fines of $3,000 and up to one year in jail. Because of the aggravated circumstances, there is a greater chance a judge might include some time in jail as part of a sentence. You want the right attorney protecting you and arguing for probation instead of a jail sentence for a possible conviction.

DWI is Serious Even Without Jail Time

Even if you face a basic misdemeanor first-time DWI charge with little chance of jail time, you still need to take these charges seriously. A DWI conviction on your record can have many lasting consequences, even if you never spend time behind bars. You can pay costly fines, have your license suspended, or even lose a job that requires a clean driving record. 


Even if it is your first DWI charge, you need the right defense representation. An experienced lawyer can seek to have your charges dropped or your penalties minimized so you can move forward in your life. 

Speak with a Woodbury, MN DWI Defense Attorney

At JS Defense, PA, we take DWI defense seriously – and you should, as well. If you are arrested, your first call should be to our office to discuss how we can help. Contact us right away so we can begin protecting your rights and future. 

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