Can I still drive if I’m facing DWI charges?

On Behalf of | May 31, 2024 | DWI |

Motorists who are arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) offenses in Minnesota often have a lot of questions. They want to know if they can avoid jail time by pleading guilty and how much the allegations against them may cost.

They may also worry about the possibility of losing their driving privileges. The revocation of someone’s driver’s license for a DWI offense is a relatively common practice in Minnesota and elsewhere. Can someone still drive when facing DWI charges in Minnesota?

While waiting for trial

Those who fail or refuse a breath test will face administrative license revocation. The state takes action to revoke someone’s license shortly after their arrest. Officers typically take someone’s license and issue them a temporary license.

The driver usually only has seven days to drive on their temporary license. People can appeal the administrative revocation of their license and must attend a hearing. The outcome of that hearing may determine if someone can continue driving until their trial.

Someone facing a basic first-time DWI offense without aggravating factors might lose their license for 90 days. However, it is possible to avoid those penalties by installing an ignition interlock device (IID) in the vehicles the defendant drives, or applying for a limited license to drive to and from work. The state can reduce the 90-day revocation to 30 days if the defendant enters a guilty plea to the underlying DWI charge.

That reduced revocation isn’t an option if someone had a child in their vehicle. Someone with an alcohol concentration (AC) of 0.16% or more, which is twice the legal limit, could lose their license for a year. Those accused of a second offense within 10 years could face one or two years without a license and subject to an IID requirement. Subsequent offenses can lead to three or even six years of IID obligations.

After a guilty plea or conviction

In some cases, the reduced driver’s license revocation could be an incentive to negotiate a plea when facing DWI charges. Other drivers may want to fight aggressively to avoid a conviction and the various penalties the courts could impose. A successful defense could assist someone in regaining their driving privileges even if they failed to act before their administrative license revocation.

Acting assertively to preserve driving privileges is often a priority for those accused of impaired driving in Minnesota. Those who understand the law and who have proper support can potentially limit the negative impact of a DWI arrest.



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