Every DWI has 2 Separate Legal Proceedings and both should be pursued.
There is a criminal proceeding and a separate administrative legal proceeding to revoke the person’s driver’s license. Both of these proceedings arise out of the same set of circumstances. Legally, however, they are treated as separate matters.
Minnesota Statute Section 169A.20 states that it is a crime for any person to drive, operate or be in physical control of any motor vehicle when:
(a) the person is under the influence of alcohol; (b) the person is under the influence of a controlled substance; (c) the person is under the influence of a combination of alcohol and drugs; (d) the person’s alcohol concentration is 0.08% or more.
Currently, the term “any motor vehicle” includes every vehicle which is self-propelled. This includes cars, trucks, motorboats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles, riding lawn mowers and golf carts.
A separate subdivision of the statute also makes it a crime to refuse to submit a chemical test of the person’s blood, breath or urine.
First time DWI – Misdemeanor 4th Degree DWI.
Under most circumstances, a first offense for driving while under the influence is a misdemeanor level offense. The maximum punishment for the offense is up to 90 days in jail and or a fine of up to a $1,000.00.
Gross Misdemeanor DWI – 3rd Degree or 2nd Degree DWI
In some circumstances a first DWI can be charged as a gross misdemeanor. For example, if the driver’s alcohol test is 0.16% or more, if there is a passenger in the vehicle who is under the age of 16 or the drinking driver causes an accident and injures someone, the case will be charged as a gross misdemeanor. This carries a maximum possible sentence of one year in jail and or a fine of up to $3,000.00.
Prior DWI’s within 10 years will be treated as a gross misdemeanor. This is an aggravating factor.
The severity level of a DWI criminal charge is determined by the number of “Aggravating Factors” involved in the case. Aggravating Factors are defined in Minnesota Statute §169A.03, Subd. 3, and include the following:
- A prior DWI conviction or alcohol-related driver’s license revocation within ten years of the current offense.
- Having an alcohol concentration of 0.16% or more in the present offense.
- Having a child under the age of sixteen in the vehicle at the time of the offense if the child is more than thirty-six months younger than the driver.
4th, 3rd and 2nd Degree DUI in MN
If your DWI involves no Aggravating Factors, it is classified as a 4th Degree DWI, a misdemeanor. If your DWI involves one Aggravating Factor, it is classified as a Third Degree DWI, a gross misdemeanor. If the current offense involves two or more Aggravating Factors, it is classified as a Second Degree DWI, a gross misdemeanor.
First Degree DWI
A DWI is charged as a felony if the driver has three or more prior DWI convictions or alcohol related driver’s license revocations within ten years of the current offense. This type of felony level DWI is known as a 1st Degree DWI. Also, if a driver has previously been convicted of a felony level DWI, any future DWI charges will be charged as 1st Degree felony DWI.