In 2015, there were 95 fatalities caused by drunk driving accidents in Minnesota, an increase from the previous two years, accounting for 23 percent of all traffic fatalities in the state. While death and injury are by far the most tragic results of driving while impaired, they are not the only repercussions.
Thankfully, arrests made for DWI in Minnesota have been declining steadily for the last decade, indicating that fewer and fewer people are making the decision to get behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking. However, it still happens, and even those who have no intention of ever driving while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance might make a mistake and find themselves in that very situation.
DWI in Minnesota
Keep in mind that although we are generally referring to automobiles when talking about DWI, the same or similar laws apply to motorboats, snowmobiles, and other vehicles.
If you are operating a vehicle while your blood-alcohol content is over the legal limit of 0.08, you can be arrested and charged with DWI. The severity of the charge (first, second, third, or fourth degree) will depend upon the circumstances surrounding the incident.
The most lenient charge, fourth degree DWI, is a misdemeanor. If this is your first DWI offense, you cooperate with law enforcement officials, and there are no other aggravating factors (such as an exceptionally high blood-alcohol content of 0.16 or a passenger in your car who is under the age of 16) to consider at the time of your arrest, you will likely be charged with fourth degree DWI.
However, if you’ve had three other DWI incidents in the last decade, you’re probably looking at first degree DWI, which is a felony. This can result in a $14,000 fine and up to seven years in jail.
In between we have second and third degree DWI, which are both gross misdemeanors resulting in up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
If you hurt or kill someone while driving drunk, the charges and punishments are more severe yet.
Aside from the criminal penalties of fines and jail time, a DWI can result in administrative penalties, as well. You can lose your car or your driver’s license, or be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. This requires you to blow into the tube before you start the vehicle, and if a certain level of alcohol is detected, the car will not start.
Unfortunately, a DWI conviction will continue to affect your life long after you’ve dealt with the consequences issued by the court. Time away from your home and family has an impact on your income and your relationships, and your record could affect your ability to get a job. It will also increase your insurance rates.
Defense Against DWI Charges
This is why it’s important to seek experienced representation if you’ve been charged with DWI. Your entire future depends upon what happens next.
If you get pulled over, remember that you should not admit to anything. Though you should always be courteous and polite with law enforcement officials, you have the right to remain silent, and you should contact a DWI attorney before you are tested at the police station.
We will carefully examine your case and consider any errors that might have been made by law enforcement during your arrest. Every detail matters if we can seek a lesser charge that would take years off your sentence, allowing you to get back to your life that much sooner.
If you’ve been arrested and charged with DWI, contact Martin Law Offices for a free case evaluation. We have extensive experience dealing with DWI charges, and the sooner we begin aggressively working on your defense, the better chance we have of achieving the best possible outcome for you.