Minnesota has a reputation for being among those states with the toughest drunk driving laws in the nation. Driving under the influence of alcohol and driving while impaired are the same charge in this state, and unfortunately, many residents have faced these charges. In fact, the most recent data from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety shows that one out of every seven licensed drivers in this state has a record for driving while impaired.

Perhaps the most startling statistic is that over 40% of those with DWIs on their records also have more than one conviction. As severe as the penalties can be for one offense, they become more severe with each subsequent conviction. Someone convicted of a simple, first-offense DWI can expect to pay a $1,000 fine, spend 90 days in jail or both, which may be enough to cause significant hardships.

Other factors can increase the severity of the penalties. For example, someone with a .08 blood alcohol concentration who is driving with children in the vehicle may face additional charges and enhanced penalties. Having a BAC significantly higher than .08 is another aggravating factor that can increase the level of penalties for a conviction.

Of course, the surest way to avoid these charges and the chances of enhanced penalties is to never drive after drinking alcohol. However, it takes only one mistake to join the statistics for driving while impaired in Minnesota. Those facing DWI charges would be wise to seek legal counsel as quickly as possible following an arrest.