Got a Minnesota DWI? It Could Have Been Worse

Drinking and driving is never a good idea, but it becomes an even worse situation when an accident is involved, as one Minnesota man recently found out.

A 22-year-old man was convicted of killing three people in a car accident that was the result of drinking and driving.

What were already harsh penalties for driving while intoxicated (DWI) are now compounded by the accident. He was sentenced to 67 months in prison on three counts of vehicular homicide.

In Minnesota, even if you’re not involved in an accident, the penalties for DWI can follow you around for years. Here’s what you need to know about DWIs in Minnesota.

When Minnesota Says You’re Driving While Intoxicated

A DWI in Minnesota is classified as operating, being in control of physically, or driving a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or knowingly under the influence of a substance that can impair your ability to operate a vehicle safely.

If you are stopped by police and suspected of a DUI, then it is also illegal in Minnesota to refuse to take a test that measures your blood alcohol level. The legal limit for blood alcohol level is 0.08 percent.

Penalties for DWI in Minnesota

The penalties for a DWI in Minnesota depend on how many times you may have been convicted of a DWI in the past. Learn more about each penalty level below.

DWI First Offense

For a first-time DWI with a blood alcohol level of less than 0.16 percent, you can face up to 90 days in jail and be responsible for fines up to $1,000. You can also have your license revoked for up to 90 days.

If you have a blood alcohol level of above 0.16 percent at the time of arrest, then you can spend as much as 12 months in jail and face fines for as much as $3,000. You also face having your license revoked for twelve months.

Refusal to take the blood alcohol test can result in jail time or electronic home monitoring and have your license revoked for one year.

DWI Second Offense

The second time you are arrested for a DWI with a blood alcohol level of 0.16 percent or less, you can spend up to three months in jail and be responsible for a fine for as much as $1,000.

For a blood alcohol content of 0.16 or greater, you can face as many as 12 months in jail and be responsible for fines for as much as $3,000.

These penalties are similar to a first offense, except you face a longer suspension to your license. For second DWIs with a blood alcohol level under 0.16, you face a year of license suspension. BAC over 0.16? Plan on having your license suspended for two years.

DWI Third Offense and Beyond

For a third DWI offense, you can have your license canceled and won’t be able to get it back for three years. You can also face as many as 90 days in jail and fines of as much as $3,000.

A fourth (and any subsequent) DWI conviction is considered a felony. That can land you in jail for up to seven years and require you to pay fines up to $14,000. You also will have your license suspended for as many as four years.

Penalty for Death or Harm

Duluth DWI Attorney

If someone was killed or injured as a result of your DWI, then you can face additional penalties. The penalties go up depending on how many DWI convictions you’ve had in the past. Ultimately, you can face up to 10 years in prison.


About the Author:

A lifelong Minnesotan, founding partner Ronald R. Envall has spent his entire legal career fighting for the little guy, focusing on workers’ compensation, Social Security, and personal injury cases. He has been recognized by SuperLawyers as a Top Rated attorney in Duluth, placing him in the top 5 percent of all workers comp lawyers across the state. In his free time, Mr. Envall serves on the boards of several area government and nonprofit organizations and is a member of the Minnesota Association for Justice, which supports consumer rights.