There have been a lot of changes to the ways things are done due to COVID-19. Some things are more restrictive while others are less – including to-go beer and wine with your Minnesota takeout orders.
The Star Tribune reported in April that laws have been temporarily relaxed in order to let people buy beer and wine to go with takeout orders from restaurants. While this change is certainly convenient, it also is one less excuse for you to be driving under the influence.
Minnesota takes DUIs very seriously, and the consequences you might face could follow you around for life. Save your to-go alcohol for when you make it home. In the meantime, here’s what you should know about DUI laws and penalties in Minnesota.
DUIs in Minnesota
In Minnesota, driving under the influence (DUI) and driving while intoxicated (DWI) are terms used interchangeably. They are both defined as operating, being in physical control of, or driving a motor vehicle while you are:
- Knowingly under the influence of substances that can impair your driving abilities
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Under the influence of any schedule I or II drug
- Intoxicated to the point where your blood alcohol level (also called BAC or blood alcohol concentration) is greater than .08 percent
If you are pulled over while driving under the influence, then you can be arrested for a DUI.
If you refuse to submit to a breath alcohol test in Minnesota, you can be charged with a separate crime on top of your DUI called test refusal or an implied consent violation.
The Penalties for a DUI
If you are charged with a DUI in Minnesota, then you can ultimately face two different types of penalties: criminal and administrative. The severity of these penalties depends on whether there are any aggravating factors in your case. Aggravating factors include:
- The presence of a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle when pulled over
- A prior DUI record in the past 10 years
- A blood alcohol concentration of .16 percent or higher
What are Administrative Penalties?
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety administers these types of penalties. They can include things such as:
- Vehicle forfeiture
- Cancelation or revocation of your driver’s license
- Impoundment of your license plates
These penalties can be imposed even if you’re not convicted of a DUI, as they’re meant to be imposed as soon as possible after an arrest.
What Are Criminal Penalties?
Criminal penalties are imposed by the court after a DUI conviction. There are four different levels of DUI penalties. These are:
First DUI Conviction
The first time you are convicted of a DUI, you can face up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000. You may also be required to complete an alcohol assessment, have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, and face up to a 90-day suspension of your driver’s license.
Second DUI Conviction
For the second conviction in Minnesota, you can face up to one year in jail and fines up to $3,000. You can lose your license up to 180 days as well and be required to complete an alcohol assessment and treatment. Ignition interlock devices may also be required.
Third DUI Conviction
A third conviction for a DUI can carry with it the same penalties as a second conviction. The only difference is that you can have your license suspended for up to one year.
Fourth DUI Conviction and Beyond
You can face up to seven years in prison for a fourth (or more) DUI conviction in Minnesota. Fines can be assessed up to $14,000, you can lose your license for up to four years, and you may be required to have an alcohol assessment done along with completing a treatment program.
For now, you can get beer and wine with your takeout. Just make sure to take it home before you enjoy it.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is an AV-Preeminent rated criminal and DWI defense attorney based in Minneapolis who is known for fighting aggressively for his clients and utilizing innovative tactics to get the most positive results. He has been featured in numerous media outlets due to the breadth and depth of his knowledge and named a Certified Specialist in Criminal Law by the Minnesota Bar Association. Mr. Keyers is Lead Counsel rated, and he has received recognition for his criminal law work from Avvo, Expertise, Super Lawyers, The National Trial Lawyers, and more.