There are four degrees of DWI in Minnesota DWI law. While the second to fourth degree DWI cases are considered either a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor, a First Degree DWI is considered by the law as a felony offense and is the most serious of all DWI cases. A felony DWI charge carries a maximum penalty of a $14,000 fine and seven years of jail time.
Example Case Study
A 29-year-old Lakeville woman was recently arrested and is now facing two felony charges of first degree DWI.
The woman’s car was spotted by a Lakeville police officer on routine patrol. The car, southbound on Holt Avenue, was seen drifting to the right and nearly hitting the curb.
The police officer reported that the woman didn’t stop her car for a stop sign at Holt and 207th Street West intersection. When the police officer stopped her, he noticed that she wasn’t able to react to the emergency lights immediately, but eventually pulled over into a parking lot.
The woman appeared to be intoxicated and the inside of her car had an extremely strong smell of alcohol beverage. She had bloodshot, watery eyes and severely slurred speech. She admitted of consuming plenty of alcohol when she was interrogated and that she didn’t have her car insured.
The police officer conducted three standard field sobriety tests on the woman, all of which registered a fail. After checking her driver’s license, the officer learned that she had a B Card restriction, although it was valid.
Minnesota First Degree DWI Laws
According to Minnesota DWI laws, any driver with a driver’s license cancelled due to a violation of driving while impaired for the third time within the period of 10 years, or the fourth time throughout the offender’s lifetime, has the option to apply for a restricted B Card license.
This license can be granted if the driver has successfully completed a treatment program and has signed a sworn statement of abstinence from consuming alcohol beverages or any other controlled substance. However, this license can be invalidated if the driver violates the abstinence restriction or consumes alcohol even when not driving.
Case Study Continued
At the Dakota County Jail, she was then asked to take a breath test. Her blood alcohol content registered .26 which is three times the .08 legal driving limit. Her record revealed previous DWI convictions in 2004, 2007 and 2009.
A warrant of arrest was issued and the woman was arrested Thursday morning. She is now held in Dakota County Jail and has a court appearance scheduled in Dakota County District Court in Hastings for her felony First Degree DWI charge.
Who Can Be Charged With Felony First Degree DWI?
Any driver who had three previous violations of driving while impaired or had his or her driver’s license revoked due to alcohol-related offenses within ten years will be charged with First Degree DWI.
Another ground for a driver to be charged with First Degree DWI is when he or she had a previous conviction of Felony DWI in the past. Also, an individual can be charged with First Degree DWI if he or she had previous conviction for a felony charge by being involved in a criminal vehicular operation or committing criminal vehicular homicide.
What Are The Penalties for a Felony First Degree DWI?
An individual convicted of Felony First Degree DWI will face imprisonment for up to seven years and will be required to pay a fine of up to $14,000.
A DWI charge must be taken seriously even if you’re a first-time offender. If you have been charged with DWI in Minnesota, you must contact a well-trained Twin Cities DWI Lawyer to defend your rights. Respected Minnesota Criminal Lawyer, Douglas T. Kans, is always ready to provide you with comprehensive legal services for the best possible resolution of your DWI/DUI case. You can contact Kans Law Firm, LLC at (952) 835-6314 for a free case review.