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DUI/DWI Information for Minnesota

Driving under influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated/impaired (DWI) is an offence committed when a driver operates a vehicle after the consumption of alcohol or drugs or other intoxicants. Increased alcohol levels in the driver's blood lead to diminished mental and motor reactions which, in turn, reduce the driver's ability to control the vehicle. This significantly increases the risk of the driver committing errors of judgment and often results in accidents causing severe injuries and even death.

In Minnesota, as in the rest of the US, drunk driving is the single largest cause of motor vehicle related fatalities and accounts for an alarmingly high 40% to 50% of the total number of motor vehicle related deaths every year.

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REGULATIONS FOR DUI/DWI IN MINNESOTA

In Minnesota, the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) limit is set at 0.08% for drivers over 21 years of age and any BAC level for those under 21. For commercial drivers, the limit is set at 0.04%. Drivers over 21 years with BAC lower than 0.08% may also be convicted.

Having a Minnesota license automatically provides your consent to be tested if stopped by a law enforcement officer, while driving. This is the law of "implied consent" and can be used by the officer to test you if you are stopped on the suspicion of drunk driving, either through a breathalyser test or by an actual blood test to check the BAC. Refusing to take the chemical test is treated as a Gross Misdemeanor for the first offense, and will result in imprisonment for one year and/or you will have to pay $3000 fine, your license being revoked for a year (30 day revocation if you plead guilty of DWI or 90 day revocation if you plead guilty of refusing to submit to the test). The second offense is treated as Gross Misdemeanor and will result in imprisonment for one year and/or you will have to pay $3000 fine, your license being revoked for a year, your plates may be impounded, you may forfeit your vehicle and you may receive a notice that any more offenses will lead to cancellation of your license. The third offense is treated as Gross Misdemeanor and will result in imprisonment for one year and/or you will have to pay $3000 fine, you may lose your license for a year or it may be cancelled, your plates may be impounded, you may have to forfeit your vehicle, you may have to undergo rehabilitation (with proof of abstinence for at least one year) and treatment and you will have to abstain from alcohol for your lifetime once your license has been reinstated.

Your license will be suspended or revoked, if you convicted of DUI/DWI. The punishment will depend on the severity of the offense and the number of times you have been convicted for it.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS OVER 21:

If you are over 21 years old, and are caught with BAC higher than the set limit of 0.08%, you may be subjected to criminal actions in addition to administrative actions. If the DUI/DWI incident you are involved in is subjected to criminal action, it is recommended that you get in touch with a DUI/DWI lawyer as they are experts at handling such incidents and can offer you the best advice.

  1. The first offense with BAC below 0.20 is treated as a Misdemeanor and may result in imprisonment for up to 90 days and/or up to a $1000 fine. Also, if convicted for a first offense BAC or DWI or for driving under the influence of drugs (DUID):
    • Your license will be revoked for 90 days (30 day revocation if you plead guilty of DWI).
    • You may be eligible to drive using the Limited License if you meet the conditions.
  2. The first offense with BAC of 0.20 or above is treated as a Gross Misdemeanor and may result in imprisonment for up to one year and/or up to a $3000 fine.
    • Your license will be revoked for 180 days.
    • Your plates may be impounded.
    • You may face electronic monitoring and/or highest bail.
    • You may be eligible to drive using the Limited License if you meet the conditions.
  3. The second offense or two offenses in ten years with BAC below 0.20 treated as a Gross Misdemeanor and may result in imprisonment for up to one year and/or up to a $3000 fine. Also, if convicted for the second offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
    • Your license will be suspended for 180 days.
    • You may receive a notice that any more offenses will lead to cancellation of your license.
  4. The second offense with BAC of 0.20 or above is treated as a Gross Misdemeanor and may result in imprisonment for up to one year and/or up to a $3000 fine.
    • Your license will be revoked for one year.
    • Your plates may be impounded.
    • You may have to forfeit your vehicle.
    • You may face imprisonment, highest bail and/or electronic monitoring.
    • You may receive a notice that any more offences will lead to cancellation of your license.
  5. The third offense or three offenses in ten years for any BAC level is treated as a Gross Misdemeanor and may result in imprisonment for up to one year and/or up to a $3000 fine. Also, if convicted for the third offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  6. Your license will be lost for at least a year or may be cancelled.
  7. You may have to undergo rehabilitation (with proof of abstinence for at least one year) and treatment.
  8. You will have to abstain from alcohol for your lifetime once your license has been reinstated.
  9. Your plates may be impounded.
  10. You may have to forfeit your vehicle.
    • You may face imprisonment, highest bail and/or electronic monitoring.
  11. The fourth offense in ten years is treated as a Felony and may result in imprisonment for up to seven years (conditional release - five years) and/or up to a $14,000 fine. Also, if convicted for the fourth offense of DWI, DUID or BAC:
  12. You will lose your license for four years till you satisfy the reinstatement and rehabilitation conditions.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR DRIVERS UNDER 21

  1. Your license will be suspended or revoked, if you are convicted under the "minor in possession/other alcohol offenses" law(trying to purchase, possessing or having purchased any intoxicant; or being intoxicated using alcohol, drugs or other intoxicants; or having any amount of detectable BAC) while driving.
  2. The driving privileges may be suspended for 30 days after the first conviction.
  3. The driving privileges may be suspended for 180 days after the second conviction.
  4. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to minors if they are convicted of DUI/DWI.

ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI FOR COMMERCIAL VEHICLE DRIVERS

If you drive a commercial vehicle and hold a commercial driver license (CDL):
  1. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for a year, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04%. You will also be issued an "out-of-service" order valid for 24 hours by the arresting officer for any detectable amount of alcohol.
  2. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for at least three years, if you are convicted for your BAC being higher than 0.04% while transporting hazardous materials.
  3. You will be barred from driving a commercial vehicle for life if you are convicted for any of these offenses for the second time.
  4. Apart from these actions, penalties mentioned above for drivers over 21, may also apply to commercial drivers for their first and second offenses of DUI/DWI. The other penalties do not apply since they are barred after the second offense.

ADMINISTRATIVE ACTIONS AGAINST DUI/DWI:

Minnesota laws have administrative implications in addition to the criminal laws against DUI/DWI. An officer may arrest a driver if:
  • He/she is aged 21 and above and is driving with BAC 0.08% or more.
  • He/she is aged below 21 and is driving with BAC 0.02% or more.
If you are arrested for DUI/DWI, the arresting officer will confiscate your Minnesota driver license, complete a notice of license suspension/revocation based on the nature of the offense along with a warrant, if applicable; and send the entire set to the Department of Public Safety - Division of Driver and Vehicle Services. The driver can schedule an administrative hearing after the notice of suspension/revocation. It is a good idea to consult a DUI/DWI lawyer beforehand. If the hearing goes against the driver, his license will be suspended or revoked based on his previous ten-year driving record. If he has any alcohol related convictions or suspensions for this ten-year period, for a second offense he may be imprisoned for 30 days (minimum 48 hours at a local facility for corrections), undertake community work service for eight hours for every day below 30 days that you have been ordered to spend at the local facility for corrections, for a third offense he may be imprisoned for 90 days (minimum 30 days at a local facility for corrections), you may have to spend maximum 60 days on home detention, undergo a minimum six day program at a local facility for corrections). You may be eligible to drive using the Limited License if you meet the conditions. The suspension or revocation after the final order of the hearing officer is mailed from the Department of Public Safety - Division of Driver and Vehicle Services. The administrative hearing review is final and the driver may not be granted another administrative review. If the verdict goes in favour of the driver, then his license will be returned and the suspension/revocation will be cancelled. If the driver, however, does not request a hearing, then the suspension/revocation begins after the arrest, and is final.

LICENSE REINSTATEMENT AFTER DUI/DWI SUSPENSION/REVOCATION:

If you are convicted of DUI/DWI, it will result in your license being suspended or revoked. This means that your driving privileges will be taken away and you will need to apply for a reinstatement of your license with the Department of Public Safety - Division of Driver and Vehicle Services, once the period of suspension or revocation is over. Reinstating a license after a suspension of a year, or revocation will also mean taking the driving tests all over again. These will include the vision test, knowledge test and the road test. If you do not complete the reinstatement requirements, the license will remain suspended or revoked.
  1. To complete the reinstatement requirements, you must prove that you have successfully completed the state approved treatment program or a comparable program, pay the reinstatement fee of $680, undergo a knowledge test for DWI, chemical assessment and maintain proof of financial responsibility by filing SR-22, if required.
  2. If you are being convicted for a second time, it is mandatory for the court to order an ignition interlock device to be placed for breathalyser tests on any vehicle you drive.
  3. You can submit the reinstatement application and fees at a Department of Public Safety - Division of Driver and Vehicle Services office near you.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • DUI/DWI has been a major cause of death and injury in our nation and it is our duty to prevent such needless pain and suffering. Simply: If you drink, DON'T DRIVE! If we all follow this rule to the letter - thousands of lives will be saved each year.
  • If you have been charged with a DUI/DWI get help from a DUI/DWI Lawyer.
  • See also Suspended License, Point System and Traffic Ticket Lawyers.
  • A first offense with BAC of over 0.20 and more and if accompanied by a child is treated as a Gross Misdemeanor and may result in imprisonment for one year and or $3000 fine. Your license will be revoked for 180 days. Your plates may be impounded and you may forfeit your vehicle. You may be imprisoned till your first appearance in court.
  • A first offense with BAC of over 0.20 and less and if accompanied by a child is treated as a Gross Misdemeanor and may result in imprisonment for one year and or $3000 fine. Your license will be revoked for 90 days. Your plates may be impounded.
  • A second offense with any BAC level and if accompanied by a child is treated as a Gross Misdemeanor and may result in imprisonment for one year and or $3000 fine. Your license will be revoked for 180 days. Your plates may be impounded and you may forfeit your vehicle. You may face imprisonment, highest bail and/or electronic monitoring. You may receive a notice that any more offences will lead to cancellation of your license.
  • It is against the law to have a container of an alcoholic beverage open in a vehicle that is on a highway or a public street. It is also against the law to permit passengers to consume alcohol or keep a container of an alcoholic beverage open.
 

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