License Revocation, Cancellation & License Plate Impoundment

Being charged and convicted of driving while intoxicated can result in a myriad of different and very serious penalties.

Typically, the penalties associated with a conviction for DWI include;

  • Jail or prison time (which, depending on the specifics of your case, can be very significant)
  • A large fine
  • Revocation, Cancellation, or Suspension of your driving privileges and license plate impoundment (“whiskey plates”)

The stark reality is that many people who have been convicted of DWI find the associated loss of license to be a particularly burdensome aspect of such a case. If you have found yourself facing a DWI charge, you need to make sure that you understand the extent to which your license can be taken away in the aftermath of a DWI arrest. Be sure to speak with a qualified Minneapolis DWI Lawyer before making any decisions.

Drivers License Revocations and Cancellations for Driving While Intoxicated

In the State of Minnesota something known as “implied consent” accompanies the issuance of a driver’s license. What this means is that if you do have a driver’s license in Minnesota, you have given your implied consent to submit to certain types of alcohol concentration tests in the event that you end up being stopped under suspicion for driving while intoxicated. Additionally, through the act of obtaining a driver’s license you are also demonstrating your implied consent or understanding that your license can automatically be revoked in the event of a DWI arrest or if you refuse to take an Intoxilyzer test or blood or urine test.

A license revocation can begin immediately following a test failure or test refusal with one caveat. A driver will be able to drive for a period of seven days following a test failure or test refusal before the revocation will take full effect.

The different levels of revocation that a driver can face are summarized in the following chart.

License Plate Impoundments & “Whiskey Plates”

Many drivers will also face the embarrassment of having license plates impounded from their vehicles in certain DWI circumstances. Plate impoundment applies whenever a driver has at least one aggravating factor present or when a person’s driver’s license is already cancelled. Plate impoundment applies to the vehicle used to commit the offense (even if it is not registered in the driver’s name) and any other vehicle registered in the driver’s name at the time of offense. Once a person receives notice of a plate impoundment, it will not be possible to remove his or her name from the title of vehicles in an attempt to get around the plate impoundment.

Plate impoundment generally lasts for one year from the date of offense, and it requires the offender to obtain special series license plates that look different from regular license plates in Minnesota. These plates are sometimes referred to as “whiskey plates.” This is a confusing area of law for many individuals and attorneys, so be sure to contact our office if you are facing this particular penalty.

Engaging an MN DWI Lawyer for a License Revocation Challenge

If you have been arrested for driving while intoxicated and are concerned about the future of your driver’s license, you absolutely must engage the services of an MN DWI lawyer who has a proven and significant track record in battling driver’s license revocations and cancellations.

Following a DWI arrest, you are not automatically entitled to any hearing to challenge your license revocation. License revocation is a penalty that is treated separately from the criminal case, so challenging your criminal case will not automatically challenge your license revocation. Understanding this concept is crucial. To have any effect on your license revocation, you must hire an experienced DWI attorney who can file a petition for judicial review of the entire process. The fact is that nearly all drivers who appear at these proceedings on their own and without legal representation fail to get any relief in regard to their driver’s license revocations whatsoever. And attorneys who do not regularly practice DWI defense do not usually understand the nuances of how the license revocation needs to be challenged.

If you want to have the best chance of being able to deal with a driver’s license revocation in the manner most favorable to you, it is imperative that you engage the services of an MN DWI lawyer immediately. (And “immediately” is not an understatement. You only have 30 days to file a challenge to your license revocation or the right to do so is lost forever, even if you beat your criminal case!)

The attorneys at Meaney & Patrin have fought hard on behalf of clients who were facing driver’s license revocations arising out of a DWI stop or charge. We are prepared to provide you with the same effective representation in an effort to preserve your driving privileges or to lessen the amount of time associated with a driver’s license revocation.

If you have any questions pertaining to a driver’s license revocation and your rights, contact our office as soon as possible. As we have told you, time really is of the essence. The attorneys of our firm can be reached at 612-223-6595. We will be happy to provide you with an initial consultation at no charge to you.