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How long does a DWI stay on your record in MN? DUI, DWI

How long does a DWI stay on your record in MN?

2 years ago by Brian
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Most people are aware that Minnesota Statute § 169A.20 makes it a crime for any person to drive, operate, or be in physical control of any motor vehicle when they are under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, an intoxicating substance, or any combination of two or more of those elements.

But you might not realize how long a DWI conviction can stay on your record and impact your life. 

Anybody who is facing driving while impaired (DWI) charges near St-Paul and Woodbury will want to seek the help of a Minnesota criminal defense attorney.

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Where DWIs Appear on Your Records

A DWI offense in Minnesota shows up not only on your criminal record but also on your driving record.

The criminal record is usually viewed by possible employers and housing providers, but driving records are generally not viewed much unless you are applying for a job requiring you to operate a vehicle. 

A DWI remains on your driving record forever because the state of Minnesota has a 10-year lookback period when it comes to subsequent DWI offenses.

This means that any prior offenses within the previous 10 years will count against alleged offenders facing charges of new DWI offenses.

A DWI that is more than 10 years old will not count against you.

DWI Expungement In Minnesota

The good news is that as of 2015, a DWI criminal record can now be expunged.

When you expunge your criminal record, it effectively seals the record but does not result in complete destruction because law enforcement agencies and other entities may need to view the information.

Minnesota law now allows people convicted of petty misdemeanors, misdemeanors, or gross misdemeanors to expunge criminal charges from their criminal records.

Most first-time DWI offenders face misdemeanor charges. 

After a DWI conviction, an expungement may be possible, but it will involve following several steps.

You have to complete an entire sentence relating to a DWI charge, including serving all jail time, probation time, and fulfilling all requirements for ignition interlock devices, alcohol classes, or assorted other penalties. 

All fines relating to a DWI offense also need to be paid. Provided that you do not commit any new crimes within a two-year timespan following a DWI conviction, you can file for an expungement. 

While an expungement can remove a DWI charge from your criminal record, the DWI conviction will always remain on your driving record.

While you cannot do anything about this, the good news is that many employers, schools, and housing authorities do not look at driving records.

People who are able to expunge their first DWI offenses from their criminal records also need to understand that expunging these offenses does not mean that any subsequent DWI offenses will not be enhanced.

Conversely, even individuals who do expunge DWIs from their criminal records can face enhanced charges for subsequent DWI offenses, and a second DWI will be a gross misdemeanor.

In contrast, a fourth or subsequent DWI is a felony offense.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Woodbury DWI Defense Attorney

Were you arrested for a DWI recently in Minnesota? Make sure that you get help with your legal defense by contacting JS Defense.

Our firm handles all kinds of DWI cases, from first DWI offenses to repeat offenses to felony offenses.

You can call us at (651) 362-9426 or contact us online to set up a free consultation so we can take a longer look at your case and discuss what you can do to possibly fight for a reduction or complete dismissal of criminal charges.



Award-winning criminal defense attorney with a proven track record of dismissals, acquittals, and positive resolutions for his clients. For over a decade, Justin has dedicated himself to criminal and DWI defense. He has advocated for individuals through every step of a case, from pre-charge representation through pretrial hearings and trials.


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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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