What are the penalties for drunk driving in Minnesota?

On Behalf of | Jul 12, 2022 | DWI |

Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol can bring serious penalties, affecting everything from one’s right to drive to his or her personal freedom. If you are facing a DWI in Minnesota, you know that your future is at stake, and defending your interests is critical. As you seek to understand how you can develop a strong defense strategy, it may be helpful for you to learn more about the specific penalties you are up against and what you can expect from your case. 

The consequences associated with a DWI conviction in Minnesota depend on the details of your individual situation. Your blood alcohol content at the time of your arrest, your criminal history and other factors could determine the severity of the charges you are up against. When you understand the case against you, you will be in a better position to defend yourself and your future interests. 

The consequences of drunk driving 

In Minnesota, drivers could face criminal penalties if they operate a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher. One of the primary factors that will determine the nature of the penalties you are facing is previous drunk driving offenses on your criminal record. The following may help you understand exactly what you are up against: 

  • Fourth-degree DWI — This is a misdemeanor offense, and penalties include up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. This is for a first offense within 10 years without aggravating factors or refusal to test. 
  • Third-degree DWI — This is a gross misdemeanor. If convicted, you could spend up to one year in jail and pay a $3,000 fine. This is for a second offense within 10 years or first offense with one aggravating factor (refusal to test, .16 BAC or higher, or child in vehicle under 16). 
  • Second-degree DWI — This is a gross misdemeanor, and penalties include up to one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. This is for a third offense within 10 years, second offense within 10 years with one aggravating factor, or a first offense within 10 years coupled with two aggravating factors. 
  • First-degree DWI — This is a felony offense. If convicted, one could spend up to seven years in prison and receive a $14,000 fine. This is for a fourth violation within 10 years, regardless of aggravating factors. 

Drunk driving in Minnesota comes with penalties that may change the course of your life. If you are facing DWI charges, it is in your interests to know how to defend yourself and fight for the most beneficial outcome to your case. With the right defense plan, you may be able to avoid a conviction or mitigate some of the penalties you are facing. There is no time to lose to learn about your defense options. 



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