The act of driving after consuming drugs or alcohol in
Minnesota is called Driving While Intoxicated or DWI. Like DUI in other states,
DWI in Minnesota carries with it a variety of civil and legal penalties that
can be costly and damaging to a person’s driving record.
Unlike other states, Minnesota uses the same laws for both
adult and underage drivers. People who plan to drive in Minnesota can benefit
by knowing what constitutes a DWI in this state and how the state’s courts
punish this crime.
DWI in Minnesota
Minnesota defines DWI as driving under the influence of
drugs or alcohol. It also categorizes DWI as driving a motor vehicle while
knowingly being under the influence of a hazardous substance that affects the
body and substantially impairs a person’s driving abilities.
The per se definition of DWI in Minnesota is having a blood
alcohol content or BAC of 0.08 percentor higher. It extends to having any
amount of Schedule I or II drugs in the body with the exception of marijuana.
Minnesota also allows for a DWI to be charged as an
aggravated offense if it meets certain criteria. The requirements for an
aggravated DWI in the state include:
a prior DWI charge within the last 10 years
with a BAC of 0.16 percent or higher
while intoxicated with a passenger under the age of 16 in the car
while intoxicated with a suspended or revoked license
Minnesota has a washout or look back period of 10 years.
DWIs committed more than 10 years ago cannot be considered when factoring in
penalties for current DWI charges.
DWI Penalties in Minnesota
A first DWI conviction in Minnesota is a misdemeanor and
results in a fine of up to $1000 and a jail sentence of up to 90 days. It also
leads to a revocation of one’s license for 90 days.
At the court’s discretion, the driver can have his or her
vehicle and license plate forfeited. The driver may also have to submit to
chemical use assessments and treatment and submit an SR22 to the state. He or
she can get full driving privileges reinstated by agreeing to use an ignition
interlock device on his or her vehicle.
A second DWI conviction is a gross misdemeanor and results
in penalties like
- A fine
days in jail
plate and vehicle forfeiture
The offender also will have to submit to an addiction
assessment and treatment, use an IID, and submit an SR22 to the state.
A third DWI conviction is also a gross misdemeanor and
carries with it similar penalties. The jail term for a third offense is 90
days, and the license revocation period is three years.
A fourth conviction for DWI in Minnesota is a felony and
punished more harshly. The fine can go as high as $14,000 while the license
revocation period can be as long as six years.
The jail term can also range from one to seven years with a
mandatory five-year condition release afterward. The defendant will also have
to use an IID, submit to an assessment and treatment for the addiction and
submit an SR22 to the state. Five or more DWI convictions in Minnesota are also
felonies and include the same penalties as a fourth conviction.
Implied Consent in Minnesota
Like most states, Minnesota uses an implied consent law to
compel drivers to submit to chemical testing if law enforcement has due cause
to detain them for DWI. Refusing to submit to testing puts the driver in peril
of incurring civil and administrative fines.
The loss of one’s license correlates with the number of
times within the last 10 years that the driver has refused chemical testing.
The first refusal results in a license suspension of one year while a second
refusal leads to a two-year suspension, and so on. All refusals are punished
with mandatory installation at the driver’s expense of an ignition interlock
device or IID to restore his or her full driving privileges.
Underage DWI in Minnesota
Minnesota treats drivers who are 16 and 17 years of age as
adults when it comes to DWI convictions. They incur the same penalties as adult
drivers and face the same jail sentences and SR22 requirements.
Drivers who are 15 and younger are treated as juveniles and
prosecuted as major highway traffic offenders. They can have their licenses
revoked for up to 180 days. If they are not licensed, their DWI conviction as
teenagers can negatively impact their ability to obtain a learner’s permit,
restricted drivers’ license or full drivers’ license in the future.
Driving while intoxicated in Minnesota is an offense that is
met with severe legal and civil penalties. Drivers of all ages can incur
punishments that put them behind bars and cost them hundreds or thousands in
Underage drivers do not benefit from lax laws because of
their age. They receive the same penalties as adults if they are 16 and older.