According to Minnesota DWI law, an individual arrested for driving while impaired who had three prior DWI violations or alcohol-related driver’s license revocations within ten years of the present offense will be given a 1st degree DWI charge. An arrested driver convicted of first felony DWI can get up to 7 years in jail and a fine of up to $14,000.
So how could a DWI offender possibly get twice that penalty? – Simple he gets charged with 2 counts of first degree felony DWI. Below is a case study of just such a case and a closer look at First Degree DWI laws in the State of Minnesota.
A Case Study
According to a criminal complaint filed in Washington County on March 31, the Woodbury police arrested a 24-year-old man from White Bear Lake on Feb. 13. He was charged with two counts of felony First Degree DWI after he allegedly drove his car into a stationary cart coral near Woodbury tire department.
When Woodbury police officers arrived at the scene, the man was found using adhesive tape to cover up the extensive damage sustained to his vehicle due to the incident. The man walked toward the officers with his hands behind his back. The officers reportedly noticed he had poor balance, glassy and watery eyes and had slurred and slow speech. He then told the police he hadn’t been drinking since 1 am on that day.
A preliminary breath test was administered at the scene which showed that the man registered a blood alcohol concentration of 0.22, nearly thrice the Minnesota’s .08 legal driving limit. His blood sample analysis registered a BAC of 0.31 after he voluntarily submitted himself for a blood test at the Woodbury Police Department, just before he was transported to Regions Hospital.
The man’s driving history showed three previous DWI convictions which occurred in December 2005, August 2006 and June 2007. He was then arrested and charged with two counts of felony First Degree DWI. The recent arrest was registered in his driving record as his fourth DWI arrest within 10 years.
The arrested man was summoned to appear in Washington County court and will face a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison and up to $28,000 fine if convicted of the DWI charges.
Minnesota First Degree DWI Laws
- Three prior DWI violations or alcohol-related revocations of driver’s license within 10 years of the present offense;
- conviction of a prior Felony DWI;
- Prior conviction of a felony charge related to criminal vehicular operation or a prior conviction related to criminal vehicular homicide;
An arrested driver convicted of 1st Felony DWI may be imprisoned for up to 7 years, and pay a fine of up to $14,000.
Frequency of DWI Offenses & Penalties
The number of DWI offenses a person has during a 10 year period will determine the degree of the DWI offense along with the penalty.
First DWI offense within 10 years – A jail term of up to 90 days, a maximum fine of $1,000, mandatory counseling classes, possible suspension of driver’s license for up to 90 days.
Second DWI offense within 10 years – A mandatory jail term of 30 days or a possible maximum jail time of up to one year, maximum fine of $3,000 and a possible driver’s license suspension for 180 days.
Third DWI offense within 10 years – A mandatory jail term of 90 days or up to 1 year, maximum fine of $3,000, and a possible driver’s license suspension for one year or cancellation of driving privileges for the reason of “inimical to public safety”.
Fourth DWI offense within 10 years – Considered as a felony DWI charge, the penalties of fourth DWI offense include a mandatory jail term of 180 days or up to 7 years, a maximum of $14,000 in fines and cancellation of all driving privileges.
Important Note: These DWI penalties may be increased in specific circumstances such as, if a passenger under the age of 16 was in the vehicle, or the blood alcohol content was above 0.20 during the incident.
Multiple Counts of DWI Related Charges
It’s possible that an arrested drunk driver be charged with multiple DWI-related violations, or multiple counts of charges following the arrest. Minnesota DWI laws allow multiple charges and view each count as an indication that an individual has possibly committed a particular violation. The charges are primarily used to determine the severity as well as the length of sentence, and to classify whether the committed crime is misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony.
In a situation where you face separate, multiple or additional sentences of incarceration or some other punishment, an experienced Minnesota DWI attorney is capable of knowing if the law allows the sentences for such offenses to be served one after another or all at the same time.
The Proper Move to Make When Charged with any degree of DWI in Minnesota
If you’re charged with a DWI in Minnesota, regardless of its degree, you need to immediately contact Douglas T. Kans, an experienced criminal lawyer. He will fight for your rights and will do everything possible to protect you from the loss of your car, your license or your freedom as a result of a DWI charge. You can contact Kans Law Firm, LLC at (952) 835-6314 for a free case consultation and case review.