In Minnesota, like most states, a drunk driving charge is usually a misdemeanor. This means it is a less serious crime, but it is never one to take lightly and still deserves a strong DWI defense strategy. A driver convicted of a misdemeanor may serve a short amount of time in jail, if any, whereas a felony may result in years behind bars and much higher fines. While most DWIs are misdemeanors, certain factors can elevate the offense to a felony.
Aggravating factors can quickly turn a simple DWI into a more serious charge. One such factor is having a blood alcohol concentration that is considerably higher than the legal limit of .08. Having a child in the vehicle while driving impaired may raise the severity of the charges against a driver. Of course, if a driver who is allegedly impaired has an accident in which someone suffers serious or fatal injuries, it is possible that driver may face felony charges.
DWI charges become more complex when a driver has previous drunk driving convictions within the past 10 years. Each state is different, and laws change frequently. Therefore, it is wise for a driver with previous convictions in his or her history to speak with an attorney as soon as possible when facing new DWI charges. With each subsequent conviction, the likelihood of jail time increases, fines go up and license suspension gets longer.
In many cases, a person’s life changes dramatically after a DWI conviction. It is not unusual for the consequences to include struggles in every area of life. For this reason, seeking a skilled DWI defense attorney is a wise move. Time is of the essence when facing felony charges.