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Minnesota Whiskey Plate Laws and What They Mean

by May 17, 2011DWI / DUI, Sam Edmunds

No, it’s not a name for the tray the bar uses to serve up a round of shots. “Whiskey plates” are specialty license plates that can be a consequence of a DWI arrest.

You’ve probably seen them on the roads in Minnesota. These state issued plates start with “WX or WY” – two small letters, one big meaning. Meant to alert patrol officers to drivers with a high potential to reoffend, whiskey plates are a very public reminder of a DWI arrest.

When you’re required to purchase whiskey plates, they need to be put on any car you own – even if a family member is the sole driver. If that’s not enough to create some uncomfortable family dynamics, consider this: Whiskey plates mean you can be pulled over at any time. For any reason. Even if the driver of the car isn’t the one who received a DWI.

Many people think that whiskey plates are reserved for only the most frequent DWI offenders, but this is far from the truth. In Minnesota, whiskey plates can be issued in a number of circumstances, including:

  • The second DWI offense within 10 years
  • A DWI offense with a B.A.C. (blood alcohol content) greater than 0.20%
  • A DWI offense when a child under 16 is present in the car at the time of the offense

If you’re a Minnesota driver facing the possibility of having your license plates impounded and replaced with state-issued whiskey plates, you need a competent lawyer fighting for you. Drivers often use personalized specialty or “vanity” plates to tell the world something about them. Whiskey plates certainly deliver a message, but it’s not one many people want to share.

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