Driving While Impaired / Driving Under the Influence

Key in Alcohol Glass

Ambrose Law Firm, PLLC, Minneapolis DWI Lawyer, has a tremendous amount of experience defending Driving While Impaired (DWI) and Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases across Minneapolis/Saint Paul and the state of Minnesota. Attorney Robert H. Ambrose was named one of “Ten Best” DWI lawyers for the state of MN for client satisfaction by the American Institute of DWI / DUI Attorneys. Additionally, the Lead Counsel Review Board gave Attorney Ambrose Lead Counsel Status in DWI Defense because of his profound legal experience and reputation in this area of law.

Below is more information about the levels and types of this offense:

Levels of DWI

4
TH DEGREE DWI

4th Degree Driving While Impaired is the lowest level of DWI. It is a misdemeanor level offense carrying a maximum sentence of up to ninety days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

In Minnesota, there are different ways to get a Fourth Degree DWI:

  • Driving While Impaired – Under the Influence of Alcohol (regardless of alcohol concentration level)
  • Driving While Impaired – Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance
  • Driving While Impaired – Under the Influence of a Hazardous Substance
  • Driving While Impaired – Under the Influence of a combination of any of the above two (most common combination is alcohol and a controlled substance)
  • Driving While Impaired – .08 or more – having a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more within two hours of driving, operating, or being in physical control of a motor vehicle
  • Driving While Impaired in a Commercial Motor Vehicle – .04 or more – having a blood alcohol concentration of .04 or more within two hours of driving, operating, or being in physical control of a commercial motor vehicle (CDL)
  • Driving While Impaired – any amount of a Controlled Substance Schedule I or II, or its metabolite, other than marijuana or THC
  • For Additional Details around a 4th Degree DUI see https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169A.27.
3
RD DEGREE DWI

3rd Degree DWI is a Gross Misdemeanor offense in the state of Minnesota. It has a maximum penalty of up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Third Degree DWI occurs in the following situations:

  • Refusal – refusing to submit to a chemical breath, blood, or urine test for intoxication. If a person has no prior DWIs or driver’s license revocations for alcohol in the past ten years, a first-time refusal is a 3rd Degree DWI
  • 3rd Degree DWI – Under the Influence of Alcohol with one aggravating factor present.
    • Aggravating factors include: one prior DWI conviction or driver’s license revocation in the past ten years; having a blood alcohol concentration of .16 or more within two hours of driving (new law as of 8/1/15); or having a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle.
  • 3rd Degree DWI – Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance with one aggravating factor present
  • 3rd Degree DWI – Under the Influence of a Hazardous Substance with one aggravating factor present
  • 3rd Degree DWI – Under the Influence of a combination of alcohol and controlled or hazardous substance; or a combination of a controlled and hazardous substance
  • 3rd Degree DWI in a Commercial Vehicle – .04 or more within two hours of driving a commercial vehicle with one aggravating factor present
  • 3rd Degree DWI – having any amount of a Schedule I or II Controlled Substance, or its metabolite, other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols with one aggravating factor present
  • See https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169A.275 for more details.
2
ND DEGREE DWI

2nd Degree DWI is a more serious Gross Misdemeanor offense than 3rd Degree DWI, but also carries a maximum sentence of 365 days in jail and a $3,000 fine. Second Degree DWI happens when:

  • 2nd Degree DWI Refusal – refusing to submit to a chemical test for intoxication, such as breath, blood, or urine with one aggravating factor present
    • Aggravating factors include having one prior DWI / DUI conviction, or loss of driver’s license for alcohol, in the previous ten years
  • 2nd Degree DWI – Under the Influence of Alcohol. Regardless of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level. If you are under the influence of alcohol while operating, driving, or being in physical control of a motor vehicle with two aggravating factors present, then it is a 2nd Degree DWI.
  • 2nd Degree DWI – Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance with two aggravating factors present
  • 2nd Degree DWI – Under the Influence of a Hazardous Substance with two aggravating factors present
  • 2nd Degree DWI – Under the Influence of a combination of alcohol and a controlled, or hazardous, substance; or a under the influence of a combination of a controlled and hazardous substance with two aggravating factors present
  • 2nd Degree DWI – in a Commercial Motor Vehicle – having a BAC of .04 or more within two hours with two aggravating factors present
  • 2nd Degree DWI – having any amount of a Controlled Substance I or II, or its metabolite, other than THC or marijuana
  • For Additional Information See https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169A.275.
1
ST DEGREE DWI

1st Degree DWI is a Felony Offense in the state of Minnesota. It is the most serious level of DWI. It has a maximum sentence of up to seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. Felony First Degree DWI occurs in the following scenarios:

  • Refuse to Submit to Chemical Test of a person’s blood, breath, or urine with three prior DWIs, or driver’s license revocations for alcohol, within the past ten years; or have any prior Felony DWI convictions
  • Felony 1st Degree DWI – Operate a Motor Vehicle Under Influence of Alcohol with three prior DWIs, or DL revocations for alcohol, in the past ten years; or have a prior Felony DWI conviction on record
  • Felony 1st Degree DWI – Operate a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance with a prior Felony DWI conviction on record, or three prior DWIs or driver’s license revocations for alcohol within the past ten years
  • Felony 1st Degree DWI – Operate a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of a Hazardous Substance with three prior DWIs in the past ten years, or a prior Felony DWI conviction on record
  • Felony 1st Degree DWI – Operate a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of any combination of alcohol, controlled substance, or hazardous substance with a prior Felony DWI on record, or three Felony DWIs, or DL revocations for alcohol, in the past ten years
  • Felony 1st Degree DWI – .04 or more within two hours while operating a commercial vehicle with a prior Felony DWI conviction, or three DWIs, or alcohol-related DL revocations, within the past ten years
  • Felony 1st Degree DWI – any amount of a Schedule I or II Controlled Substance, or its metabolite, other than marijuana or THC, with three DWIs, or license revocations for alcohol, within the past ten years, or any prior Felony DWI conviction on record
  • There may be mandatory penalties as well. See https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169A.276 for more details.

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