Minnesota Drunk Driving Penalties
Driving while drunk or under the influence of any intoxicating substance can pose serious risks for the driver, other motorists and pedestrians. According to a study by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, over 25,000 drivers were arrested for DWIs in 2015. To understand how seriously the state takes drunk driving cases, here is a quick overview of the penalties and costs an offender might face.
What Is a DUI/DWI?
“DWI” stands for “driving while intoxicated.” The charges are also commonly referred to as a “DUI,” which stands for “driving under the influence.” Minnesota defines both DWIs and DUIs as driving, operating or being in control of a motor vehicle while:
- Under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
- Knowingly under the influence of a substance that affects the body and/or impairs driving abilities.
- Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of .08 percent or more.
- Having any amount of a Schedule I or II drug, excluding marijuana, in your system.
If your BAC is tested and found to be above .08, a police officer can charge you with a “per se” DUI. In almost every state, a per se DUI results in an automatic DUI conviction once taken to court.
Once a person is charged with a DWI, they can face two types of penalties. Administrative penalties are administered by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and designed to serve as a swift punishment. Theses penalties can include revocation or cancelation of a person’s driver’s license, impoundment of the vehicle’s plates and even the forfeiture of the vehicle. Criminal penalties are imposed by the court following a conviction. There are four tiers, each with their own offense level and maximum sentence.
- Fourth-Degree: Misdemeanor, maximum sentence of 90 days in jail and/or $1,000 fine.
- Third-Degree: Gross misdemeanor, maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or $3,000 fine.
- Second-Degree: Gross misdemeanor, maximum sentence of one year in jail and/or $3,000 fine.
- First-Degree: Felony, maximum sentence of seven years in prison and/or $14,000 fine.
The severity of both administrative and criminal penalties vary on a case-by-case basis, but can increase when certain aggravating factors are involved. These factors include a prior record of DWI offenses, a BAC of .16 percent or higher or the presence of a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle.
In addition to the costs accrued due to a criminal penalty, the costs of just dealing with the penalties themselves can become quite high. An offender would likely have to pay for:
- Criminal fines
- Chemical dependency assessment fees
- Driver’s license exam fee
- DWI reinstatement fee
- Plate impoundment fees
- Installation and maintenance of an ignition interlock device (IID)
Minnesota’s Bail Bond Company
Goldberg Bail Bonds is Minnesota’s premier bail bond company. With more than 100 years of experience, we’re always ready and available to serve you from locations across the entire state. We also offer competitive rates, flexible payment plans and easy credit terms. Contact us today for more information or to find the location nearest you!