DWI (Driving while Impaired) or also known as DUI (Driving under the Influence) is a very serious charge.  Being arrested or even charged with one of these crimes means almost certain revocation of your driver’s license (often before you even set foot in court).  In addition, DWI/DUI is an enhanceable offence which means the penalties will increase based on prior convictions or other aggravating factors.

Listed below is some basic information relating to DWI.  If you are charged with a DWI or DUI, I strongly advise that you speak with an attorney (even if it is not us).  Our consultation is free, and you will have a much better understanding of what you are facing.

DWI is based on Minnesota Statute §169A.20

ARE YOU FACING A DUI or DWI CHARGE?

  • Driving while under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving while under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Driving with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more
  • Driving a commercial vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .04 or more
  • Refusing to submit to blood, breath, or urine test

Whether your DWI offense is charged as a Misdemeanor, Gross Misdemeanor (and also), or Felony depends on aggravating factors such as:

  • Previous impaired driving convictions or impaired driving related loss of license within the last 10 years
  • Having an alcohol concentration of .16 or more
  • Child endangerment (having a child in the car)

4th Degree DWI is the lowest DWI charge.  It is usually charged as your first offense without any of the above aggravating factors.  It is a misdemeanor.

3rd Degree DWI is a result of having at least one aggravating factor.  If this is your second offence, conviction will result in a minimum of 30 days in jail. In addition, by statute, under certain conditions, the judge cannot release you without mandatory bail or other intrusive conditions.

2nd Degree DWI is the result of having at least two aggravating factors.  This is also a gross misdemeanor, and conviction carries with it a minimum of 90 days in jail if this is your 3rd offense.  By statute, the judge cannot release you without mandatory bail or other intrusive conditions. ****This is important**** You will not be allowed to leave the courthouse without meeting these conditions.  Also, 2nd Degree DWI usually also involves vehicle forfeiture (sometimes even if it is not your car).

1st Degree DWI is a felony.  This is the most serious DWI offense.  Conviction can result in you being sent to prison for a minimum of 3 years.  If you are charged with 1st Degree DWI, you need to speak with an attorney right away!

Vehicle Forfeiture

Even a first time DWI can result in a vehicle forfeiture.  Vehicle forfeiture can be complicated as it involves a number of factors.  The number of prior DWI’s, the equity in the vehicle, loans, and the status of the owner of the vehicle.  You only have a short period of time to fight to keep your vehicle.  Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your situation.

Driving After Cancellation Inimical to Public Safety

The second most common driving offenses that I am contacted about is Driving After Revocation /Suspension /Cancellation.  In most instances, this offense is a misdemeanor.  However, for people with past DWI convictions, you can be Canceled as Inimical to Public Safety.  This is a gross misdemeanor and will often carry jail time.  Getting your driver’s license back is oftentimes confusing and difficult.  We can help guide you through that process, as it will oftentimes help with your criminal charges.

It should be noted that failure to pay any fines will result in the suspension of your driving privileges.  Many of my clients tell me that they never receive notification from the Department of Public Safety informing them that their licenses are suspended, so it is very important that all fines are paid.

There are many other vehicle related crimes.  To the right is a list of common crimes and links to their corresponding state statute.  If you are charged with one of these crimes, or any other crime, you should speak with an attorney.  It is free.

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