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Most states are cracking down on laws involving DWI/DUI's. Don't hesitate to consult with an attorney to start protecting your rights, freedom, and driving privileges. The worst thing you can do is wait.

Minnesota and Wisconsin DWI/DUI Defense Attorneys

Most states have recently instituted stricter laws around impaired driving violations. Minnesota is no exception.

First Degree (Felony) DWI
First degree offenses are felonies and the most serious type of Driving While Impaired (DWI) offense. They carry a sentence of up to seven years in prison and $14,000 in fines. A felony DWI charge arises when the driver has a prior felony DWI, Criminal Vehicular Operation, or Criminal Vehicular Homicide conviction.

Second Degree and Third (Gross Misdemeanor) DWIs
Both second and third degree DWI’s are gross misdemeanors in the state of Minnesota. These charges result if there are any aggravating factors. Aggravating factors are included below. If there is one aggravating factor, then the charge is a third degree DWI. If there are multiple aggravating factors, then the result is a second degree DWI (the more serious of the two).

  • Refusal to submit to a chemical test crime
  • Prior DWI conviction in the last 10 years
  • A minor is in the vehicle at the time of the incident
  • The driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is two times the legal limit (0.16) or greater

Second and third degree DWIs carry various amounts of jail time (which are based on prior offenses and a chemical use assessment), loss of driver’s license, and fines.

Fourth Degree (Misdemeanor) DWI
Fourth degree DWI’s are misdemeanor charges in Minnesota. These occur when the driver has no aggravating factors (no prior, no children in the car, etc.). Drivers found guilty of a fourth degree DWI offense in Minnesota are looking at a driver’s license suspension, probation, minimal jail time (usually carried out as community service), and a small fine.

Underage Drinking and Driving
Minnesota has a zero tolerance (“Not a Drop”) policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. As with a regular DWI offense, the higher the BAC level at the time of driving, the harsher the penalties that could result. According to the state law, it is a crime of a driver under the age of 21 to drive, operate, or be in physical control of a motor vehicle (does not include motorboats or off-road recreational vehicles in this case) while consuming alcoholic beverages or after having consumed alcohol.

Boating or Snowmobiling While Impaired
It’s illegal in the state of Minnesota to operating any motorized vehicle while intoxicated or under the influence of a controlled substance. This includes boats, snowmobiles, scooters, and ATV’s. There can be slight variations in consequences depending on the type of vehicle. For example, a first time DWI on a boat does not always result in a driver’s license suspension.

Commercial Driver’s Licenses (CDL)
Newmark Storms Law Office also represents professional drivers facing disqualification of their commercial driver’s license (CDL) eligibility for major traffic offenses, such as drunk driving. For examples, first and second convictions of a Minnesota DWI can result in the following consequences:

  • A first-time DWI conviction can result in the loss of a CDL for one year.
  • A first-time conviction of DWI while transporting hazardous materials can result in a loss of CDL for three years.
  • A second-time DWI conviction can result in the permanent disqualification from ever holding a CDL.

Driving While Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance
A person is guilty of a DWI in Minnesota if he or she drives under the influence of a controlled substance. This can sometimes be called “drugged driving.” This occurs when a driver has consumed a drug that is a controlled substance or even a legal drug (prescribed over the counter) that affects the nervous system or otherwise ability to operate a motorized vehicle.

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