DWI defense lawyers in Minneapolis and St. Paul understand the easiest drunk driving charges to fight are often the first charges. Once a driver has a drunk driving conviction on his or her record, it can be harder to negotiate a deal with prosecutors and it can be tougher to win an acquittal at trial. And the nature of Minnesota’s DWI law (statutes Chapter 169A) means subsequent charges carry more serious penalties. A first offense drunk driving charge (which is a fourth-degree DUI) carries a penalty of up to 90 days in jail. A second- or third-degree DUI carries a penalty of up to one year in jail while a first-degree DUI, which is a felony, carries a penalty of up to 7 years in prison.
The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety reports 32,756 motorists were arrested for DWI in 2009 — in all, 1 in 7 Minnesota drivers have been arrested for drunk driving. Meanwhile, the state reports increased DUI patrols are planned through September in the 13 counties that have the highest number of DUI accidents: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Itasca, Olmsted, Ramsey, Rice, St. Louis, Scott, Stearns, Washington and Wright.
In the last five years, more than 1,320 DWI enforcement efforts have resulted in more than 172,000 stops and more than 11,000 DWI arrests. Statewide, more than 500,000 Minnesotans have a DWI on their record.
What the state did not report is the number of DUI convictions. While statistics vary from county to county and state to state, as many as one-fourth to one-half of those charged with drunk driving are not convicted in any given year. It doesn’t matter what police charge you with; what you are convicted of is all that counts.
Charged with drunk driving in the Twin Cities? Call the Kans Law Firm, LLC at (888) 972-6060 for a free case review.