Even for first-time offenders, a conviction for driving while impaired (DWI) in Minnesota carries severe consequences. Even if a person convicted of DWI avoids jail time, they may still be haunted by other consequences. There is no definitive answer to the question, “What is the punishment for a first DWI in Minnesota?”
In Minnesota, not all first-offense DWIs will be treated equally.m There are aggravating circumstances that can significantly raise the stakes in a DWI trial. If you have been arrested for DWI in Minnesota, you must seek legal representation immediately. Your attorney may have a significant impact on the outcome of your case. Schedule a free consultation with a Minneapolis DWI defense attorney from Ambrose Law as soon as possible to discuss your defense options.
Driving while intoxicated (DWI) is a crime that puts a great deal at risk. From short-term setbacks to long-term repercussions, defendants face a variety of penalties and negative consequences. Depending on the charge, these penalties can have life-altering effects in some instances. If you or a loved one has been charged with DWI, it is crucial that you understand the importance of working with experienced defense attorneys, such as those from Ambrose Law.
Over the years, our legal team has successfully defended clients accused of DWI under a wide range of circumstances, including some of the most severe charges our criminal justice system has to offer. There is simply no substitute for working with a seasoned team of attorneys when you stand accused.
Recognizing the Penalties
DWI is a criminal offense that may result in both criminal court punishment and administrative penalties from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
Additionally, there are varying degrees of DWI:
- Misdemeanor of the fourth degree – Typically charged against first-time DWI offenders with no aggravating circumstances.
- Misdemeanor of the third degree – May be charged against a first-time offender when there is an aggravating factor or when a breathalyzer or chemical test is refused.
- Second-degree gross misdemeanor – First-time offenders may be charged with this offense when two aggravating circumstances are present and/or when a chemical test is refused.
- First-degree felony – As the most serious charge, felony DWIs are prosecuted against drivers with three or more prior DWI convictions.
In the absence of prior convictions, a first-time offender may be charged with a felony for causing an accident resulting in bodily injury or death.
First-time DWI offenders typically face the following penalties:
- Driving privilege revocation
- License or vehicle confiscation
- Up to $3,000 in fines
- Up to 90 days in jail (misdemeanor)
- Up to a year in jail (gross misdemeanor)
- Probation • Community Service • Mandatory Coursework
In addition to these penalties, there are a number of collateral consequences, including employment issues, financial expenses, and driving-related difficulties.
As with any criminal charge, the criminal penalties for DWI will vary greatly depending on the specific facts and circumstances involved. While prior convictions are a well-known factor for increased penalties in DWI cases, other factors can expose defendants to additional penalties, harsher sentences, additional charges, and even felony accusations.
- Driving with a minor passenger
- Involvement in an accident
- Accidents resulting in injury or death
- Driving with an open container
- High BAC levels
- Driving with a suspended license
- Refusing a breathalyzer or blood test
Even if you are arrested and charged with DWI for the first time, the penalties can vary significantly depending on the circumstances surrounding your arrest. While some factors, such as driving with an open container or a higher BAC, may expose defendants to a moderate increase in penalties, others may result in felony charges and the possibility of lengthy prison terms. This is particularly true in situations involving accidents, hit-and-runs, injuries, and deaths. However, because each case is unique, it is best to work with an attorney like Ambrose Law Firm who can explain how aggravating circumstances affect your case.