Having one too many drinks can cost an individual more than just a headache and a minor traffic citation. In Minnesota, a first time DWI offense can hurt both the pocketbook and the offender’s future.
After taking a preliminary breath test and a series of other field sobriety tests, an intoxicated driver will be taken to jail for further testing . If an individual is highly intoxicated, then he or she could even be placed in a detox facility.
In Minnesota, implied consent law means that if an individual has a driver’s license, then the driver consents to a chemical test if a police officer has probable cause to believe that he or she is intoxicated. If the driver refuses to take the test, he or she may be face an additional charges later on.
If eventually convicted, first time DWI offenders in Minnesota may face court costs and fines of up to $1,000, and may also be placed behind bars for up to 90 days. Drivers may also risk losing their driver’s license for up to six months, and may need to install an ignition interlock devices on their vehicles, which only starts a vehicle’s engine after passing a breath test.
Although a DWI conviction in Minnesota may be a misdemeanor and a driver’s first offense, it will stay on the record permanently. The costs of a conviction may also add up given the ignition interlock device, as well as the fees for its installation and monthly monitoring.
DWIs of the second and third degree, on the other hand, are considered gross misdemeanors, which can result in a maximum sentence of up to a year in jail and fines amounting to $3,000. A felony or first degree DWI can result in a maximum sentence of up to seven years behind bars and fines of up to $14,000.
Mandatory minimum sentences apply to individuals who have been previously convicted of DWI. If charged again within 10 years of the first DWI, the offender must face a 30-day jail sentence. If charged with a third DWI within 10 years of the first charge, the offender will be imprisoned for a minimum of 90 days. If charged with a fifth DUI within 10 years of the first charge, then the offender will be sentenced a mandatory minimum of one year of incarceration.
For third time DWI offenders and individuals under the age of 19 who are charged with DWI, long term monitoring becomes part of the mandatory sentence.
The actual sentence charged to a DWI offender depends on various factors, such as the level of DWI that is charged and how well the offender’s attorney is able to negotiate on the client’s behalf. A good DUI lawyer may be able to negotiate for options other than jail, some of which are staggered sentencing, electronic home monitoring, or community service and in some cases get the court to toss out the DWI charge entirely.
Reports show that the average DWI cost in Minnesota could amount to $10,000 after paying for bail, fees, fines, towing costs, alcohol education and treatment, and insurance, even if the driver does not hit anything or anyone.
Such penalties aim to discourage reckless behavior, as alcohol played a part in approximately 32% of all automobile accidents in the United States in 2009. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of one fatality related to alcohol-impaired driving occurred every 48 minutes in 2009.
The Importance of Hiring a Good DWI Lawyer
If you are charged with your first DWI in the state of Minnesota, you need an experienced DWI lawyer on your side that can give you the best chance at a positive outcome with regard to your case. At Kans Law Firm, LLC, we have been defending people charged with alcohol related offenses in the Twin Cities for over 17 years. Call (952) 835-6314 for a free consultation and case evaluation.