There are many different issues that need to be considered when it comes to B-Cards, what they are, how they work and who they are issued to. So here are some of those key questions answered in plain English which will hopefully eradicate any confusion that surrounds this complex issue.
What is a B-Card?
The B-Card is a “restricted driver’s license” with a no-alcohol/drug restriction and provides a repeat DWI offender with an opportunity to become validly relicensed to drive after cancellation for a third or subsequent impaired driving incident.
To be eligible, the offender must complete chemical dependency treatment and a rehabilitation period described in law. Any violation of that no-alcohol/drug restriction, irrespective of whether the violation involved driving, carries stiff consequences for the violator, including both administrative sanctions and, if the person was driving, criminal penalties. Thus with the B-Card, the repeat-DWI offender gets another chance to legally drive, but only if he or she remains permanently chemically free.
What are the restrictions?
Following a repeat DWI violation, a person must successfully complete chemical dependency treatment, as well as rehabilitation (following a third or subsequent impaired driving incident), before he or she can be validly relicensed to drive—and then only with a B-Card. However, that B-Card license is contingent upon the person maintaining complete abstinence from alcohol and illegal drugs. The revoked driver must agree in writing to the abstinence restriction before being issued the B-Card
How does it differ in Minnesota?
The B-Card is a Minnesota restricted license carrying limitations that go far beyond those imposed by other states when issuing a license subject to special conditions. A motorist with a B-Card cannot consume any alcohol or controlled substance (without a prescription).
Although this form of restricted license permits a motorist to recover driving privileges following a third or subsequent DWI-related offense, the driver must successfully participate in chemical dependency treatment and a rehabilitation period.
If you are issued a B-Card, this restricted license can be canceled even if you are not operating a motor vehicle. The abstinence condition that accompanies a B-Card even applies to such nominal amounts of alcohol as sips of wine during communion or the negligible amounts of alcohol in cough syrup.
Must a driver abstain from alcohol and controlled substances?
The decision of a motorist who has been issued a B-Card license to violate the moratorium on alcohol consumption carries significant penalties. While this form of a restricted license can be reinstated, the driver must successfully participate in chemical dependency and rehabilitation again before issuance of a B-Card.
Further, pursuant to Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) rules, the rehabilitation process for proof of abstinence from intoxicating substances (except for lawful drug prescriptions) must meet the following requirements:
- First period of rehabilitation – 1 year
- Second period of rehabilitation – 3 years
- Third period of rehabilitation – 6 years
How long can the impact last for?
Although it is possible to get this forced abstinence restriction removed for your license, you must abstain from the use of a controlled substance without a prescription and alcohol for a period of TEN YEARS. This also means you cannot have any DWI-related incidents during this time span. The better option is to avoid a repeat conviction and immediately seek legal advice, especially if you have prior DWI convictions.