A drunk driving arrest can be one of the most humiliating and stressful encounters you might expect to make with law enforcement, and the aftermath may affect nearly every area of your life, from your job to your personal relationships. If you have already had this experience, you may expect more of the same if officers have arrested you again on suspicion of DWI. However, as a repeat offender, you may have much more serious issues to face.
As you may suspect, each subsequent drunk driving conviction carries more serious penalties and even longer repercussions. Some circumstances may cause police to be even more alert for you on the road and more likely to pull you over for DWI. For this reason, it is important that you know your rights and take every possible precaution to protect them.
Your future on the line
In Minnesota, a first-offense conviction from drunk driving may result in a $1,000 fine, the loss of your license for months and the potential for jail time. You can also expect your insurance rates to skyrocket, and you will deal with the frustration of having a misdemeanor charge on your record indefinitely. While these penalties may have seemed crushing at the time, compare them to the potential consequences of a second or third offense:
- Fines as high as $3,000, not including other fees and costs
- The forfeiture of your vehicle
- License revocation up to three years and / or the cancellation of your license as a danger to public safety
- Mandatory ignition interlock system installation for any vehicles you drive
- Up to one year in jail
- Probation as long as six years, the terms of which include frequent drug and alcohol testing
You may also be required to have “whiskey plates” on any vehicles you own solely or jointly with someone else. Whiskey plates begin with a distinct letter “W” so that police can identify you as a driver who has multiple drunk driving infractions. This may make you vulnerable to more frequent police stops (though not a lawful basis for a traffic stop) and the violation of your rights.
Because the evidence in a drunk driving case is often subjective, it is wise not to face these charges alone, especially if you have previous offenses on your record. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible after your arrest can set in motion an aggressive defense strategy.