A glass of alcohol drink with a finger with car keys on the front.

What Is a 3rd Degree DWI in Minnesota?

A 3rd Degree DWI in Minnesota is a serious offense with penalties that include a driver’s license revocation, whiskey plates, steep fines, and jail time if convicted.

A glass of alcohol drink with a finger with car keys on the front.

Minnesota 3rd Degree DWI Convictions

In Minnesota, a driver convicted of a 3rd Degree DWI offense faces serious consequences. If convicted, it is a Gross Misdemeanor criminal charge that is one step above a Misdemeanor and one step below a Felony.

Aggravating factors that constitute a 3rd Degree DWI criminal charge include:

  • A prior DWI or loss of license due to alcohol-related charges within the past 10 years
  • A blood, urine, or breath test with a result of .16 or above
  • Refusal to provide a blood, urine, or breath test after requested by a police officer
  • An impaired driver has a passenger who is 16 years of age or younger in the car

If none of the above conditions apply, the offender will likely be charged with a 4th Degree DWI, a lesser offense that carries lighter penalties. If a driver is convicted of a Minnesota 3rd Degree DWI, he/she may face jail time, even if the above conditions do not apply. If the driver does not have a prior DWI or alcohol-related loss of license within the past 10 years, the mandatory minimum jail sentence of 30 days does not apply, however, the judge may still impose this sentence if the offender pleads guilty. If sentenced to 30 days in jail, the offender must serve at least 48 consecutive hours in jail. The remaining time may be served by electronic home monitoring or a work release if the offender is eligible. 

Penalties for a 3rd Degree DWI

Penalties for a 3rd Degree DWI include a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 days in jail and a loss of driver’s license and license plates for one year. If it’s a second DWI offense within the last 10 years, penalties may include up to one year in jail and loss of driver’s license for at least two years. A third DWI conviction may result in one year or more in jail, a $3,000 fine, and vehicle forfeiture.

If convicted of a 3rd Degree DWI in Minnesota, a person may also face additional consequences that include: mandatory whiskey plates; a criminal record showing a gross misdemeanor; mandatory community service; loss of job and/or income; higher insurance costs.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

Confidential informants may provide integral information to help build criminal investigations, but how reliable is that information when they are receiving payment for their services? To protect them, state law requires the identity of informants be kept confidential. For those facing criminal charges, however, this creates challenges in questioning the accuracy and validity of the information given at trial.
Stay calm and compose after getting accused of a crime but not charged in Minneapolis, MN. Do not discuss the facts of your case with anyone, including your relatives and family members. Hire a criminal defense attorney with a demonstrated record of winning cases like yours. Your attorney will discuss your rights, guide you on how to cooperate with law enforcement within the legal boundaries, and build a solid defense strategy to fight the charges you could face in the future.
Expungement and sealing of records in Minnesota affect how your criminal history appears to government agencies and the public. The main difference between the two legal actions is that expungement permanently removes past arrests, criminal charges, or convictions from private and public databases, while sealing hides the criminal record from the public. Courts, government entities, and law enforcement agencies can access sealed criminal records.