The holidays are here and if you are like millions of Americans, you plan on celebrating the holidays with family, food, and drinks. However, if driving is included with drinking, then the celebration may quickly result in unfortunate consequences if arrested for a DWI during Christmas. DWIs are serious and the accused should know about the potential consequences when determining whether to hire an attorney.
Minnesota DWI laws result in both administrative sanctions and criminal penalties.
Immediately upon arrest, your license will be withdrawn, though you will receive a temporary seven-day license before the withdrawal becomes fully effective. The length of license suspension depends on whether you have had prior convictions for DWI and other aggravating factors. For a first time offense, the revocation period is 90 days if your alcohol concentration (AC) level is under .16 and you are over 21 years old. With these circumstances, the 90 days may be reduced upon conviction. However, if you refuse to submit to a chemical test or your AC is .16 or over, then the license revocation will last up to a year.
There may be additional consequences if you were driving a rental vehicle.
If you live out-of-state and were traveling home for the holidays, you may have been driving a rental car when you were arrested for a DWI. When arrested for a DWI, the plates will be impounded. The owner of the vehicle may request a seven-day temporary plate for the vehicle if the owner was the driver. The non-driver owner (or rental company here) may request a 45 day temporary plate.
The car may also be subject to forfeiture. To prevent forfeiture, the owner of the vehicle must establish that it did not know or did not have reason to believe that the driver would operate the vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Therefore, most car rental companies will not allow you to rent from them for at least several years once you have been convicted of a DWI. Moreover, if the car you were driving was owned by family members, the car may still be at risk for forfeiture if you had multiple prior DWIs and they knew about them.
Certain circumstances increase the severity of punishment for DWI.
Not all DWI charges are the same. There are four degrees of charges for DWI. Three are misdemeanor charges and one is a felony charge. The misdemeanor charges result in less severe consequences than the felony charge. For example, a fourth degree misdemeanor DWI charge will result in up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine whereas the first degree felony DWI charge results in up to seven years imprisonment and up to a $14,000 fine.
The variance in the charges are based on the surrounding circumstances involved. If the accused has had multiple DWI convictions on his or her record, then he or she will face harsher punishment than someone with no prior offense. Repeat offenders are subject to mandatory minimum sentences in jail for misdemeanor charges and prison for the felony charge.
Additionally, the charge will increase where there is a child under the age of 16 years old present in the vehicle during the operation (where the driver is at least 3 years older than the child), anyone was injured or killed as a result of the intoxicated operation, or where the AC of the driver was .16 or more. Test refusal also increases the severity of the DWI charge.
A DWI can quickly ruin a holiday celebration. If you or a loved one gets arrested for a DWI before or after Christmas and needs assistance from an experienced Minnesota DWI attorney, please contact us for a case evaluation.
Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.