DWI laws in the state of Minnesota vary depending on the situation. It is important to know your rights as well as the potential penalties. The following are some of the top frequently asked questions about Minnesota DWIs.
What is Considered over the Legal Limit?
In Minnesota, an alcohol concentration of .08 or above is grounds for a DWI charge. When driving a commercial vehicle, the limit is lowered to .04 or above.
Will I Lose My Driver’s License if Convicted of a DWI?
That depends on a couple of factors. A first offense with no child in the vehicle and concentration level below .16 comes with a 90-day revocation of driving privileges. You will have a choice between a 15-day period of no driving along with a limited license for the remaining 75 days or full driving privileges for 90 days with use of an ignition interlock. If you plead guilty to the DWI charge, the sentence is reduced to 30 days. Additionally, if there is a child in the vehicle, your plates are impounded. If your alcohol concentration level is above .16 you will either have one year of no driving privileges or 1 year with an ignition interlock. Plates are impounded, and if a child is in the vehicle, your vehicle is forfeited. Second, third, and fourth offenses carry steeper penalties and all involve varying degrees of limited or no driving privileges.
Can I Refuse the DWI Test?
Yes, you can refuse a test for blood-alcohol concentration. However, doing so is grounds for automatic penalties. Refusing a test results in revocation and limited driving privileges or the requirement of an ignition interlock.
What are the Monetary Consequences of a DWI Conviction?
Upon conviction for DWI, you may face either jail time or a fine. Fines vary depending on the number of offenses as well as the level of alcohol concentration. They begin at $1,000 for the minimum offense and grow to $3,000 with the increase of concentration, presence of children, and test refusal. Four or more offenses within 10 years could result in a fine of $14,000. In all cases, a reinstatement fee of several hundred dollars comes with loss of driving privileges.
When is a DWI Considered a Misdemeanor or Felony?
The only instance DWI is considered a misdemeanor is first offense under .16 concentration, without a child in the vehicle. All others up until the fourth offense are considered gross misdemeanors. Four or more offenses within 10 years are considered felony offenses. This includes refusal to test.
What is a Limited License?
A limited license is a paper license used with revoked driving privileges. It allows driving only to and from work, school, and rehabilitation. There are also ignition interlock limited licenses, which allow driving only with an installed ignition interlock.
Can I be Charged with a DWI While Sitting in a Parked Car?
Yes, a DWI charge is possible even if you are sitting in a parked vehicle. When behind the wheel of a vehicle, parked or moving, the law considers you in physical control of the vehicle.
What are Some Other Aspects DWI Not Covered Above?
DWI laws change depending on various situations. Drivers with CDL licenses, those carrying hazardous materials, commercial drivers with and without passengers, and underage drivers may face different or more serious penalties for driving while impaired. Additionally, if an accident occurs as the result of driving under the influence, charges varying from bodily harm to vehicular manslaughter may apply.
DWI charges are serious, but not impossible to overcome. If you are facing DWI charges, we can help. To learn more about DWI laws, your rights and options, or for representation, please contact us.