Sunday, October 18, 2015

Your Second MN DWI Offense

A lot of people that I have worked with - as an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney - have said: "I will never drink and drive, again."  And then ... "Again" happens.  The State of Minnesota's Drunk Driving laws makes it clear that repeat drunk driving offenders will encounter harsh penalties.

Criminal Penalties

If you hated your first trip to court for a DWI ... you're really going to his like Round 2.  According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, law enforcement arrest in upwards of 30,000 people every year for driving while intoxicated. Upon conviction, these people face both criminal and civil/administrative offenses. The public saftey department asserts that people with multiple DWI offenses, over a 10-year period, could encounter the following consequences from a criminal perspective:

For a second offense in which the person’s blood alcohol concentration was under 0.16, the defendant could face a fine of up to $3,000 and up to serving one-year in jail.

For a second offense in which the blood alcohol concentration was at or above 0.016, or for any third offense, the defendant could receive a gross misdemeanor charge that carries with it up to a year in prison and up to $3,000 in fines.

For any fourth offense, a defendant will be charged with a felony and face up to seven years in prison and up to a $14,000 fine.Criminal DWI convictions will remain a part of people’s records for the rest of their lives. 

This can have a serious effect on finding employment and suitable housing, especially when the charge is a felony. Convicted felons also lose some of their constitutional rights, such as owning firearms.
Aggravating factors

The above-listed penalties give judges some leeway when handing down a sentence. When there are aggravating factors present, an offender could face the mandatory minimum penalties available under the law. For example, a second DWI offense alone may be classified as a 3rd Degree Gross Misdemeanor.  However, if a child was in the vehicle, the crime, while still categorized as a gross misdemeanor, could lead to a second degree DWI charge and cost you your vehicle.  Additionally, if the defendant caused an accident that led to property damage or the serious injury or death of another person, prosecutors could bring more severe charges.

Test refusal

Minnesota’s implied consent law dictates that anyone who is arrested on suspicion of drunk driving must submit to a chemical test of either the blood, breath or urine. The test will be administered within two hours of the time someone was last driving. Refusing to take the test will have consequences, including automatic revocation of the driver’s license.Just like the above penalties, the repercussions of refusing a test grow more serious with multiple offenses. Someone with no prior convictions faces a one-year's long license revocation. However, anyone with prior convictions will have to add that one-year time-frame to any current license restrictions. 

Administrative Penalties 

As anyone who has been through a DWI knows ... the consquences do not end in the courtroom with criminal sanctions. In fact, for some people, the civil/administrative penalties for DWI can be far more inconvenient. According to the DPS, anyone convicted of multiple DWI charges will have to forfeit their motor vehicle and their license plates will be impounded.The administrative penalties for people with two drunk driving offenses are based on their blood alcohol concentration. For those with a BAC of less than 0.16, they may choose between an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles and a restricted license for one year, or a total loss of driving privileges for that timeframe. A BAC of 0.16 or over merits the same choices but extends the timeframe to two years.

As an experienced MN DWI Lawyer, I have observed individuals who have three DWI convictions have their driver's licenses cancelled because they have been deemed “inimical to public safety.” To get back to driving, these people often have to enroll in a treatment facility. And ... they will have one year of a limited license with the use of an ignition interlock. After treatment completion, they will have two years of an ignition interlock with a restricted license.

If you or someone you love needs help with another DWI charge, please call The Rolloff Law Office to set up a FREE CONSULTATION: (612) 234-1165


  1. Sharing such amazing information is really a good idea. I want to appreciate you on this.

  2. From one criminal defense attorney to another: Great blog.

    I wanted to point out a minor typo that may cause some readers confusion: In your Criminal Penalties section where the text reads "For a second offense in which the blood alcohol concentration was at or above 0.016" - there's an extra zero. As you correctly state elsewhere in your post the aggravating threshold is 0.16.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Hopefully more people learn that they should not drink and drive. Getting your license suspended can be devastating in the world we live in. You cannot get anywhere without a car. One of my coworkers had to move to an apartment a block from our workplace after he got one. Hopefully this will help some people realize that it is simply not worth it.

    Kim Hunter @ K Hunter Law

  4. There are several things that must be taken into consideration when thinking about different DWI laws. The laws are in place to protect all drivers that are on the road at all times. However, there are stiffer consequences for those who injure others due unforeseen negligence. An attorney is fantastic for this sort of situation because, every case is different.

    Hubert Singleton @ RDF Attorney

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  7. This was a nicely written article. It is amazing how many people will swear that that will never drink and drive again, only to find themselves in the same predicament over and over again. Drinking and driving is a serious offense that people should not take lightly. Harsh penalties are warranted for those who break such a crime as drinking and driving.

    Eliseo Weinstein @ JR's Bail Bonds