Monday, October 24, 2011

Minnesota DWI Penalties - The Non-Criminal Ones

In Minnesota, a Drunk Driving charge can lead not only to criminal consequences but one could also be subject to certain civil penalties.  The criminal matter is, of course, handled by the prosecutor and has the potential for jail, fines and other sanctions.  However, and many people who have never been down this road before fail to recognize this, a DWI arrest will also place into jeopardy not only one's ability to drive legally but it could also lead to the loss of their vehicle and/or the vehicle's license plates.  These are the possible civil consequences.  And understand this, these matters are entirely separate from an individuals criminal case. This is why consulting with an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney is essential to upholding your rights.

Loss of Driver's License

Outside of what could come one's way in criminal court, the number one civil consequence I'm most quizzed about by my clients who have been arrested for Drunk Driving is the status of the driver's license.  The length of revocation varies depending on the specific charges brought against an offender and the circumstances surrounding their arrest.  But, in nearly every case - an individual will be subject to a loss of his or her license and a rather expensive re-instatement fee. Moreover, that loss of driver's license (even if they "win" their criminal case) will qualify as having incurred a "prior" and could have the effect of leading to enhanced penalties in the future if one is again arrest for a Minnesota DWI.

Loss of License Plates

In addition to the loss of one's driver's license, an arrest for Drunk Driving can also lead to the loss of your vehicle's license plates.  Yes, instead of that attractive "Land of 10,000 Lakes" plates you see on over 90% of the vehicles in the State of Minnesota - you could be forced to don the plates of shame - ie., the “whiskey plates.” More often than not, this is not something that occurs for a first time offender; however, if you're facing a third-degree DWI charge (or higher) then this is a very real possibility.

Loss of Vehicle

Although the loss of license might sound severe - especially if you do not  live in an area where public transportation is a viable option - generally speaking the worst consequence one can face if he or she is arrest for a Minnesota DWI is the loss of their vehicle.  If you're charged with a first- or second-degree DWI, the government may seek to keep your vehicle - and eventually sell it at auction or you might be afforded the wonderful chance "re-buy" it from the state.

What Should You Do?

Remember, all of these consequences will not be handled in criminal court.  Rather, if you want to fight against these penalties you must do so on your own action - separately.  If you fail to do so - even if your criminal case is eventually thrown out or resolved as something less than a DWI - you can still suffer their effects. 

As an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney, I can work to ensure that your rights are preserved and that all of the proper challenges to these civil penalties are filed in a timely manner - and fought against in court.  If you or someone you love is facing a DWI or Drunk Driving charge, call the Rolloff Law Office - at (612) 234-1165 - today to set up a free consultation to learn about your options.

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