Drunk driving charges are serious in the state of Minnesota.Click To Tweet
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, you can find yourself facing hefty fines, the loss of your license, jail time, other administrative penalties, and a criminal record. Obviously, these are consequences that can severely curtail your freedom – not to mention making life a whole lot tougher for you in the future.
In Minnesota, the legal limit for the blood alcohol content or BAC is 0.08. If you are pulled over on suspicion of a DUI, you can be arrested and charged depending on your BAC, age, and license type:
- If you’re 21 or older, the BAC limit is 0.08.
- If you’re under 21 years old, Minnesota has a zero-tolerance policy and any BAC will cause an arrest.
- If you’re a commercial driver, the BAC limit is 0.04.
Criminal DUI Penalties
The criminal penalties you will face for a DUI / DWI depend upon your BAC. If you have a higher BAC, you may face harsher penalties. You can also face harsher penalties if there were children in the car or if anyone was injured.
- A first offender with a BAC under 0.16 is charged with a misdemeanor that is punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to 90 days in jail. You could also have your license suspended for up to 90 days.
- If your BAC was above 0.16 or this is your second offense in 10 years, you can be charged with a gross misdemeanor that is punishable by a $3,000 fine and up to 1 year in jail. You could also have your license suspended for up to 180 days.
- A third offense in 10 years is punishable by a $3,000 fine, up to 1 year in jail, and a minimum 1-year license suspension.
- A fourth offense in 10 years is a felony and is punishable by a $14,000 fine, up to 7 years in jail, and a license suspension of up to 4 years.
Administrative DWI Penalties
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is responsible for administrative penalties. These penalties can be imposed regardless of the outcome of criminal charges.
Administrative penalties may include the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID). An IID is similar to a breathalyzer. The driver must breathe into the IID before being able to start the car. If the IID detects the driver’s BAC to be above the limit, the vehicle won’t start. If your vehicle needs to have an IID installed, you will be responsible for the installation and monitoring fees.
- For a BAC under 0.16, drivers can have their license suspended for up to 90 days. This could mean no driving privileges for 15 days with limited privileges for the remaining 90 days. Or it could mean full driving privileges for 90 days with the requirement that you use an IID.
- For a driver with a BAC over 0.16, their license could be suspended for up to 1 year. This could also include 1 year of restricted driving with an IID.
- If you refuse to take a BAC test, you can have your license suspended for up to 1 year, or 1 year of restricted driving privileges with an IID.
If you are convicted of a DUI / DWI – even if it’s your first offense – the conviction will be on your driving record for life, as well as your criminal record. Consult with an experienced DWI criminal defense attorney today to see how they can help with your case.
About the Author:
Christopher Keyser is a Minneapolis-based criminal and DWI defense attorney 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 recognized as a Minnesota Super Lawyers Rising Star (2014–2015), a Top 100 Trial Lawyer (2013–2015), and a Top 40 Under 40 Attorney (2013–2015).