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The Basics of DWI in Minnesota and Penalties For Each Offense

Minnesota DWI attorney Charles Segal has great experience in defending driving while intoxicated charges and has the necessary knowledge of Minnesota law as it relates to drunk driving.

Charles has been an Assistant County Attorney, City Prosecutor, Public Defender and has been in private criminal defense practice over ten years. Charles has handled cases as a prosecutor and defender throughout the State of Minnesota and currently practices primarily in the twin cities and outlying area.

This knowledge and experience with DWI laws, cases, law enforcement, prosecutors and judges makes his representation invaluable to his clients.

Here is some important DWI information as it relates to Minnesota law, and more importantly, to you.


Minnesota DWI Law

DWI (driving while impaired), also sometimes referred to as drunk driving or driving under the influence (DUI), is the act of driving or being in control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

There are basically three areas of impaired driving listed in the Minnesota Statutes that are relevant to driving, operating, or being in physical control of a motor vehicle in this state.

  • Minn.Stat. §169A.20 Subd. 1(1) when the person is under the influence of alcohol
  • Minn.Stat. §169A.20 Subd. 1(2) when the person is under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Minn.Stat. §169A.20 Subd. 1(5) when the person’s alcohol concentration at the time, or as measured within two hours of the time, of driving, operating, or being in physical control of the motor vehicle is 0.08 or more.

Most often a person is charged with more than one of these offenses when they are charged with DWI. However, there will typically only be one penalty imposed if you are found guilty.


What does this mean for you?

Firstly, even if your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is below the legal limit (0.08%), you can still be charged for driving while impaired – if it can be proved your abilities were impaired.

Secondly, if your BAC is equal to or over the legal limit, you can be charged with DWI no matter how your abilities might have been impaired at all. This is sometimes referred to as DWI “per se”.

Finally, even if you were not actually driving the motor vehicle but were merely inside a stopped vehicle, you can still be charged with DWI.


Penalties for Driving While Impaired in Minnesota

In Minnesota, most first cases are charged as misdemeanors, where the maximum penalty is ninety days in a county jail and a fine of up to $1,000.00. However there are more serious consequences including Gross Misdemeanor and Felony charges which can include more county jail or prison time. Your specific charge depends on your blood alcohol concentration; whether you have any prior offenses; whether there were children under 16 in the car; and whether you are revoked for an alcohol related offense at the time the new offense occurred.


Some specific penalties for DWI include:

  • First DWI Offense (BAC under 0.20%): up to 90 days in jail and a $1000.00 fine.
  • First DWI Offense (BAC over 0.20% or child under 16 in vehicle): up to one year in jail and a $3,000.00 fine.
  • Second or Third Offense within 10 years of the first offense: up to 1 year in jail and a $3,000.00 fine.
  • Fourth DWI Offense within 10 years of the first offense: up to 7 years in prison and a $14,000.00 fine.

These charges can include mandatory bail, and mandatory jail sentencing, license suspensions, community service or sentence to service work, alcohol and substance education, and more. You must be sure to consult a skilled DWI attorney as soon as possible. We will be able to protect your rights and help you try to avoid these harsh penalties.

Minnesota DWI Defense lawyer Charles Segal is qualified to help you with all aspects of your case. He has the knowledge, resources and experience to fight for you and get you the best possible results.


Contact Minnesota Defense lawyer Charles R. Segal Immediately

Charles R. Segal
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Charles Segal is a an experienced attorney in the area of DWI, DUI, Felonies and all Criminal Defense matters.