In Minnesota, the cost of a DWI generally varies based on the severity of the charge. The more serious the charge, the more likely it is going to cost you more money. There are four degrees of DWI in Minnesota. The most serious is a first-degree felony DWI. The least severe is a fourth-degree misdemeanor DWI. Second and third degree DWIs are both gross misdemeanor offenses.
A misdemeanor fourth degree DWI has a maximum punishment of ninety days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Gross misdemeanor (second and third degree) DWIs have a maximum punishment of three hundred and sixty-five days in jail and a $3,000 fine. Felony DWIs have a maximum punishment of up to seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. Keep in mind that these are maximum fines. It is pretty rare that a court imposes the maximum fine on any DWI case. Most courts will also give people significant time to pay their fines and even setup payment plans in many situations. Frequently, you may hear about the minimum fine on a misdemeanor fine being $300 and the minimum on a gross misdemeanor being $900. Each county court also has surcharges and fees that range anywhere from $78 to $100. Some courts also add a penalty assessment for any gross misdemeanor or felony DWI case. These fines and fees are only imposed when a person is convicted of a DWI or related offense, such as Careless Driving. If you get your case dismissed entirely, either through pre-trial motions, winning at trial, or having the prosecutor dismiss your case, then you will not be paying any court fees
Besides the court fines and fees, in cases that do not result in a dismissal, you can expect to pay a fee for programming. This programming often includes a chemical dependency evaluation (referred to as a chemical use assessment or alcohol problem assessment in some counties). A chemical dependency evaluation is a meeting with a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. At that interview, the evaluator talks to you about previous drug and alcohol use, the DWI incident, and whether you could benefit from any programming, such as educational classes or treatment. These evaluations usually range from $200–$300. Most counties also require a Victim Impact Panel to be completed, which is a two-hour discussion discussing the effects of driving while impaired. These panels usually cost around $25–$35. Some counties substitute these things for their own one-day DWI class, such as in Hennepin, Anoka, and Dakota County. Those county programs often take one day and include an evaluation and Victim Impact Panel. Those one-day classes often cost around $350–$400.
Further, if you tested .08 or more, refused the test, or had a schedule I or II controlled substance in your system, then you are likely facing a driver’s license revocation. To challenge that revocation with a judicial review in court, the county filing fees are usually around $300. To reinstate your driver’s license in Minnesota, the current fee is $680. If you find yourself needing an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle, then you are likely going to pay $100–$200 for installation and about $100 a month thereafter, depending on which company you use. There is also the likelihood of having to pay more in car insurance with a DWI on your record.
Also, importantly, hiring a respected DWI lawyer in Minnesota will cost you money. The fee to hire a criminal lawyer generally varies based on the severity of the case and expected work needed. If there is a challenge to a driver’s license revocation or vehicle forfeiture, then the lawyer will want to cover the filing fees for those challenges at a minimum. Most DWI lawyers operate on a flat-fee basis and do not bill by the hour. Some will offer payment plans to make it more affordable to you.
In summation, it is reasonable to expect to pay at least a few thousand dollars for your DWI case. Depending on the cost of your attorney and how much work needs to be put into your case, the fees are likely to increase from there.
If you have questions about your DWI case and want to inquire about our services, call our Minneapolis Criminal Defense Attorneys today, we offer consultations for no charge.