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DWI Blog Series – Part One – DWI Implied Consent

by Nov 29, 2013Criminal Defense Attorney, DWI / DUI, Sam Edmunds

Sieben Edmunds DWI Blog Series

Sieben Edmunds DWI Blog Series

Welcome to the first installment of the Sieben Edmunds DWI Blog Series. This series will provide a basic overview of DWI law in Minnesota and then later we’ll get into some of the more specific and complicated aspects of DWI criminal defense.


Minnesota’s DWI laws are two-pronged. The county or city prosecutor will charge you with a criminal offense – misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony. At the same time, the State of Minnesota will immediately revoke your license to drive and place the “Implied Consent Revocation” on your driver’s record. That note on your record is considered a prior qualified DWI offense that can be used against you in the future. That is why it is critical to attack both the criminal charges and the license revocation when you’re faced with a DWI in Minnesota.


Criminal DWI Case


As mentioned, the criminal charge you will be facing can be a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony. Many first time offenses are charged out as a misdemeanor crime called Fourth Degree DWI. An offender qualifies for the misdemeanor charge only if there were no aggravating factors present. Aggravating factors include 1) prior offense within 10 years, 2) child in the car, or 3) alcohol concentration over 0.20. If any of these aggravating factors are present, then the charges will be enhanced to gross misdemeanor level.


If one aggravating factor is present, the government will charge out a gross misdemeanor crime called Third Degree DWI. For example, if an offender has a prior DWI conviction or Implied Consent Revocation within the past 10 years, she will be charged with the Third Degree DWI. The same will occur if a child was present in the car or if the offender takes an alcohol concentration test and scores over 0.20.


A different crime called DWI Test Refusal will be charged out when the offender refuses to provide an alcohol concentration test. If no other aggravating factors are present, this is also called a Third Degree DWI.


A more serious gross misdemeanor crime called Second Degree DWI can be charged if two or more aggravating factors are present. For example, two prior DWIs within the past 10 years will get you a Second Degree DWI. Similarly, one prior DWI and an alcohol test over 0.20 will get you a Second Degree DWI. Any combination of aggravating factors, or refusal, equals a Second Degree DWI.


Felony DWI is called First Degree DWI. A felony can only be had if the offender has three or more prior DWI convictions or Implied Consent Revocations within 10 years.


Implied Consent Case


As mentioned, the government immediately revokes your driver’s license and that revocation immediately acts as a prior DWI offense on your record. To challenge this government action, the law requires strict compliance with the rules set out in Minnesota Statute 169A.53. A lawsuit must be filed within 30 days. Otherwise, the driver loses out on any chance of challenging the revocation and it will appear permanently on the driver’s record.


In some cases, specifically those with an aggravating factor or a test result over 0.16, the government will also impound the offender’s license plates. This government action needs to be challenged in court in the same manner as we challenge the Implied Consent Revocation.


Check back soon for Part Two in the Sieben Edmunds DWI Blog Series.

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