A Look at Minnesota DWI Laws
Driving while intoxicated is defined as operating or being physically in control of a vehicle while influenced by alcohol, a (controlled) substance, or an intoxicant. It also includes operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level above the state’s legal limit or having any amount of a Schedule I or II controlled substance or its metabolites.
We hope this guide makes Minnesota’s DWI laws seem even a little less elusive. But in any event, you should speak to a Minnesota criminal defense attorney if you have any run-ins with the law.
Minnesota DWI Law: The Basics
Blood alcohol levels are set by Minnesota law. Minnesota sets a 0.08% per se blood alcohol limit, similar to most states. A motorist is deemed legally intoxicated if their blood alcohol content is at or over this limit. The prosecutor doesn’t need to prove that the motorist was operating their vehicle recklessly or erratically. Being at this BAC level is sufficient proof to sustain a conviction.
For drivers of commercial vehicles, the restriction is different. More strict regulations must be followed by drivers of diesel trucks and other commercial vehicles.
Commercial drivers must have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.04 percent or higher. An individual’s commercial driver’s license may be suspended for one to ten years if found guilty of DWI.
Underage drivers may be judged if they are suspected of violating the state’s zero-tolerance regulations when pulled over for suspected drunk driving and test positive for any level of alcohol in their system.
DWI Criminal Charges
Administrative fines and criminal sentences are the two possible punishments for DWI offenses in Minnesota. Administrative sanctions relate to the defendant’s driving privileges and license. Penalties for crimes might include jail time, fines, or both.
These are some of the consequences of DWI convictions:
|Offense||Punishment||Factors Determining Level of Offense|
|Fourth Degree DWI||Misdemeanor; punishable by up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine||DWI violation without test refusal or any aggravating factors|
|Third Degree DWI||Gross misdemeanor; punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $3,000 fine||DWI violation with test refusal or 1 aggravating factor|
|Second Degree DWI||Gross misdemeanor; punishable by up to 1 year in jail and a $3,000 fine||DWI violation with test refusal and 1 aggravating factor OR DWI violation with 2 aggravating factors|
|First Degree DWI||Felony; punishable by up to 7 years in prison and a $14,000 fine||Fourth DWI incident within 10 years OR following a previous felony DWI or criminal vehicular operation conviction|
Minnesota Implied Consent Law
Anyone who operates, controls, or drives any motor vehicle inside the state consents to a chemical test of their breath, blood, or urine to check for the presence of alcohol or other restricted or intoxicating drugs.
The process for requesting a blood or urine test differs from that for requesting a breath test. An officer does not need a warrant to request that someone give a breath sample, but one is required to request that someone provide a blood or urine sample.
What You Need to Know About Being Pulled Over
Being pulled over and questioned by the police is a very nerve-wracking experience.
Here are some facts you should keep in mind if you are ever pulled over for a suspected DWI:
- Before requesting a breath test or obtaining a warrant for a blood or urine sample, an officer must have reasonable suspicion of impaired driving.
- An officer must have a good reason for the initial stop, but DWI proof is not necessarily required. An officer might stop a car for a variety of infractions. A car swaying would be an excellent example of a reason to stop a vehicle.
- If other information surfaces, an officer may investigate the case further in the form of a breath test or field sobriety test.
- The officer may make an arrest and either request a more rigorous breath test of the suspect’s breath or seek a warrant to obtain a sample of blood or urine if the suspect refuses to cooperate or is unable to cooperate or if these screening tests establish probable cause to believe that the suspect was driving while intoxicated.
- The implied consent advising statement, which explains that testing is required, refusing to submit to a test is illegal, and that the individual has the right to speak with their lawyer before taking the test, must be read to the subject by the officer before the breath test is conducted.
Revocation of Your License
A license can be revoked immediately after a test failure or refusal. After failing a test or refusing one, a motorist has seven days to drive before the revocation is fully implemented. You must retain the services of an accomplished Minnesota DWI lawyer who can apply for judicial review of the entire arrest procedure if you want to have any impact on the license suspension.
You must immediately retain the services of a Minnesota DWI attorney with a considerable and established track record in defending against license suspensions and revocations if you have been stopped on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and are worried about the future of your driver’s license.
Has Your License Been Limited or Restricted?
During revocation or cancellation, a person whose driver’s license has been suspended or revoked may be eligible for a limited or restricted license. For specific work, abstinence-based treatment, educational, and domestic duties, a person with a limited license is permitted to drive six days per week under Section 171.30 of the Minnesota Statutes.
Minnesota Statutes, section 171.09, gives the DPS permission to provide some drivers a license in exchange for their written consent to any limitations considered necessary for the public’s safety. A “restricted license” is the name given to such a license.
Let a Minnesota DWI Lawyer Defend You
The specific facts of the case will determine whether a defense is available. One possible defense may be that the breathalyzer instrument or gadget was unreliable, casting doubt on the admissibility of the prosecution’s case. An experienced Minnesota DWI attorney could emphasize the police officer’s behavior more.
It’s crucial to quickly establish your constitutional rights if you are facing a DWI offense in Minnesota. Possibilities for future work, housing, and credit are just a few long-lasting effects of a DWI conviction. Repeat offenders and first-time offenders are both subject to obligatory fines and penalties.
If you are accused of a DWI, you might be held accountable for several other charges. This is a very serious matter. We recommend contacting a Minnesota DWI lawyer at Martine Law, PLLC, to represent you.