Under Minnesota statute 169A.20, “it is a crime for any person to drive, operate, or be in physical control of any motor vehicle…when…the person is under the influence of alcohol.” The resulting charge, Driving While Impaired (DWI) is a serious offense whose fines, consequences, and penalties are steep. Below, a Minneapolis DWI Attorney explains five facts you should know.
First, you can be charged with a DWI with a blood alcohol count (BAC) of 0.8 if you are 21 or older. In addition our state has a zero tolerance policy if you are under 21, meaning that you will be charged with a DWI offense if your BAC is anything more than 0%.
Second, for the first offense, you may be fined $1,000 and receive a prison term of up to 90 days. Your license may also be suspended for up to 90 days.
Third, for a second offense, all penalties rise sharply. The fine can be as high as $3,000 and the prison term as long as one year. Your license could be suspended for up to 180 days.
Fourth, for a third offense, both fine and prison term are the same as for a second offense, but your license may be suspended for a year.
Fifth, Minnesota requires an ignition interlock device (IID) for every offense, whereas many states require it only for second, third or subsequent offenses. An IID does not allow a vehicle’s ignition to start if it senses alcohol.
In Minnesota, the lookback period is 10 years. “Lookback” is a term meaning the span of time that any prior convictions for DWI are counted in assessing the number of offenses. In other words, if you are arrested and charged with a DWI, even if it is 8 or 9 years after your first offense, you will be charged as a second offender.
Minnesota law defies several aggravating factors that may lead to harsher penalties than the ones mentioned above. These include prior impaired driving convictions or convictions related to a DWI, such as loss of driver’s license. They can also include a BAC of 0.20 for second or subsequent offenses and the presence of a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle if they are more than 3 years younger that the driver.
Do you need to talk to an attorney experienced in DWIs? Please contact us.