In the State of Minnesota there are four degrees of Drunk Driving. Generally speaking, the penalties for a Minnesota DWI are based upon the number of aggravating factors present at the time the crime was allegedly committed.
Aggravating factors include:
- A blood, breath or urine test showing an alcohol concentration of .20 or more as measured at the time, or within two hours of driving, operating or being in physical control of a motor vehicle;
- The presence of a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle - at the time of your arrest, if the child is more than 36 months younger than the driver; and/or
- A qualified prior impaired driving incident - within ten years of the date of the new offense.
For separate "driving incidents" - those could involve convictions in any kind of motor vehicle - including a passenger motor vehicle, a Head Start bus, a commercial motor vehicle, an airplane, a snowmobile, an all-terrain vehicle, an off-road recreational vehicle, or even a motorboat.
Prior impaired driving-related losses of license include - Implied Consent revocations. An example of this might be - someone was arrested for a DWI and lost their driver's license; but, the DWI criminal charges were eventually plead down (to something like Careless Driving,) dismissed outright by the government and/or the person charged won at trial.
So, How will you Be Charged?
- If there were zero factors are present at the time of arrest, then you will be charged with a 4th Degree DWI - a Misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is a fine of $1,000 and/or a 90 day jail sentence.
- If one factor is present then you will be charged with a 3rd Degree DWI - a Gross Misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is a fine of $3,000 and/or a 1 year jail sentence.
- If two factors are present then you will be charged with a 2nd Degree DWI - a Gross Misdemeanor. The maximum penalty is also a fine of $3,000 and/or a 1 year jail sentence.
Confused? You're not alone.
I do this everyday - and there are still times that it still sounds like Greek to me.
That being said, you can make sure that you get the information you need - and the best defense possible against these charges by speaking to an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney.