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I Was Just Arrested for a DWI. Now What?

by May 30, 2019Criminal Defense Attorney, Dea Cortney, DWI / DUI

By Dea Cortney |

DUI/DWI penalties in Minnesota vary greatly depending on whether you have any previous violations and the circumstances of your arrest, including your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If you were recently arrested for a DWI, you should consult with a DWI Defense Attorney right away to review the specifics of your case.

Though we can’t provide a definite penalty for your charge, in this post we cover the penalties typical for first time DWI cases in Minnesota. Check back soon for future posts on repeat DWI offenses.

First DWI Offense Criminal Penalties

It is a crime to drive, operate, or be in control of a motor vehicle in Minnesota under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and/or when a person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08 or more. You may be charged with a misdemeanor if your BAC is under 0.16, or a gross misdemeanor if you are at or over 0.16 (twice the legal limit). Because of Minnesota’s implied consent laws, refusal to take a test is a gross misdemeanor. A test refusal will always be considered an additional charge to a DWI.

Administrative Sanctions

In addition to criminal penalties, DWI carries administrative (or civil) penalties. Because of the implied consent laws, a driver may be subject to these penalties EVEN IF THEY ARE NOT CONVICTED of a crime unless they TAKE PROMPT ACTION to prevent license revocation.

Ignition Interlock

Ignition interlock is a blood alcohol measurement machine that can be installed in one’s vehicle. The driver blows into the machine in order to start the vehicle and periodically while driving. The car will not start if alcohol is detected. Although there is a cost to use the program, ignition interlock gives those with revoked licenses an option to drive sooner than they otherwise might.

Other factors

The information above pertains to typical fourth-degree misdemeanor DWI (BAC level under 0.16) or third-degree gross misdemeanor DWI (BAC level at or over 0.16) with no additional aggravating factors. Each case is unique, and you should speak with an experienced Criminal Defense Attorney for individualized advice.

Other factors that could significantly impact your case include having a minor in the car, being a minor yourself, or getting a DWI while being in an accident. If, for example, there were a child in the vehicle when the DWI arrest took place, your penalty may be considered a gross misdemeanor and maximum jail time can increase from 90 days to one year, with the fine being tripled. Also, if a child is in the vehicle during the DWI arrest and the BAC was at or over 0.16, the charged party may have to forfeit their vehicle.

A person under the age of 21 who is convicted of a first DWI risks having their license revoked for a period of at least 180 days (one year if they are at or over 0.16).

Other factors that may elevate the crime could include driving with an open container, possession of drugs or a firearm, driving on a suspended license, and bring involved in an accident. Accidents resulting in injury or death may turn even a first-time DWI into a felony.

Contact a Minnesota DWI Defense Attorney

If you’ve been arrested and are facing a DWI charge you will need the guidance of an experienced DWI defense attorney. You can Contact with Sieben Edmunds Miller PLLC have dedicated their practice to representing and protecting the rights of the accused, having successfully achieved not-guilty verdicts for their clients in past court victories.

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