Like in most states, Minnesotans are used to increased DWI enforcement during the holiday seasons; however, these increased DWI patrols will now continue through September in identified hotspot counties. According to a recent My fox9.com report, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety plans to increase DWI patrols in 13 counties reportedly accounted for almost half of Minnesota’s alcohol-related fatalities on record. The exact numbers are 202 alcohol-related traffic deaths, 462 serious injuries and more than 65,000 DWI arrests combined between 2008 and 2010.
The 13 counties which will be seeing heavy DWI patrols are Anoka, Carver, Hennepin, St. Louis, Ramsey, Olmsted, Dakota, Rice, Wright, Stearns, Scott, Washington and Sherburne. According to the DPS, the list of counties with highest DWI cases in Minnesota is substantially the same as the last year’s list except that the Itasca County was taken off the list and replaced by Sherburne County. In the three-year period, Hennepin County topped the list with its 20,000+ DWI arrests. The county on the list with the lowest number is Carver Country that has a record of 15 alcohol-related deaths and 943 DWI arrests.
Alcohol related-fatalities, injuries and DWI arrests in Minnesota have significantly dropped down in recent years with 131 traffic fatalities in 2010, which is the lowest number on record. DPS officials say that educating motorists about safe driving and the increased DWI enforcement have contributed to the continuing trend of low alcohol-related traffic crashes. Although the number of alcohol-related crashes has decreased, drunk driving still accounts for one-third of the total road traffic deaths in the entire state of Minnesota.
Penalties and Sentences for DWI
In Minnesota the sentence for an individual charged with driving while impaired depends on 3 things:
1) The aggravating factors during the DWI arrest
3) The effectiveness of the DWI attorney in defending the case of the suspected DWI offender.
Fourth degree DWI is usually charged to a first-time DWI offender and typically carries a penalty similar to the penalty for other misdemeanor cases, which is commonly a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or up to 90 days of jail time. The mandatory penalty for fourth degree DWI is completion of a chemical assessment.
Second and third degree DWI are considered gross misdemeanors in Minnesota and they come with potential sentences of a maximum penalty of 3,000 and/or a jail time for a maximum of one year.
First degree DWI is felony and it carries a maximum sentence of $14,000 fine and/or a maximum jail time of 7 years.
An experienced Minnesota DWI attorney can sometimes get the DWI charge dropped or argue on behalf of the suspected DWI offender for alternative sentences to jail time, such as sentence-to-service work, staggered sentencing, community service work, as well as electronic home monitoring.
Douglas T. Kans has been defending people charged with DWI in the Twin Cities and beyond for over 17 years and knows to get DWI offenders the best possible case outcome. For a free consultation regarding your DWI charge you can call Kans Law Firm at (952) 835-6314.