You Don’t Have to Be Driving a Car to Get a DWI in Minnesota

Minnesota residents can get a DWI for operating vehicles other than their car while intoxicated. It is illegal to operate any motorable vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. State law clearly defines the types of motor vehicles that can lead to a DWI if operated while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.


Bicycle riders in Minnesota cannot be charged with a DWI for riding while intoxicated. However, they may face other charges, like reckless driving, if they are impaired and ride their bicycles in a way that endangers others.

Motorized Vehicles and Devices

Driving motorized vehicles such as mopeds and ATVs while intoxicated will attract more serious charges than those involving bicycles. Minnesota traffic laws also prohibit residents from operating boats under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Other types of motor vehicles that are illegal to operate while intoxicated include dirt bikes, MTBs, snowmobiles, four-wheel drives, and side-by-side vehicles.

DWI Charges

The DWI charges are similar regardless of the type of motor vehicle involved. A DWI conviction can attract both administrative sanctions and criminal charges. The penalties may include license suspension, loss of driving privileges, fines, and imprisonment.

Administrative Sanctions

Minnesota law provides three types of administrative sanctions:

License Revocation: The duration of license revocation depends on the severity of the current offense and the person’s past record.

License Plate Impoundment: This applies when the DWI incident involves aggravating factors such as previous charges, canceled driver’s license, or having a child aged below 16 in the vehicle.

Vehicle Forfeiture: This sanction applies to third-degree DWI violations with one or more aggravating factors.

Criminal Charges

There are four degrees of DWI charges in Minnesota. Someone who has no previous offenses in the past 10 years and no aggravating factors will likely face fourth-degree DWI charges. Penalties include jail time for up to 90 days and a fine of up to $1,000. The charge may be upgraded to a felony or gross misdemeanor if other people have been harmed.

A first-degree charge applies to drivers who have had three or more DWI charges within the past ten years, a previous first-degree charge, or a previous felony conviction for vehicular homicide. People who are convicted face a fine of up to $14,000 and imprisonment for up to seven years.

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

One of the questions people facing a criminal charge ask is: How long does a criminal case take? The timeline of your criminal case in Minnesota will depend on the nature and severity of the alleged crime, the speed of the criminal justice system, the duration of the trial, and whether an appeal will be necessary. Delays at any stage of the criminal justice process may impact how long your criminal case will last. Generally, however, misdemeanor cases may resolve within weeks or months, while felony cases may linger in courts for up to a year.
People accused, arrested, or charged with a crime often ask, “How much does a criminal defense lawyer cost in Minneapolis, MN?” It is difficult to accurately determine how much a criminal defense lawyer will cost. The reason is that numerous factors impact the cost of legal representation in criminal matters. These factors include the type and severity of criminal charges, the lawyer’s experience and reputation, required time and effort, and geographical location.
Social media can have legal implications, particularly when it comes to criminal cases. Since its advent, social media has become a powerful tool for communication and self-expression. As of 2023, an estimated 4.9 billion people worldwide use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to share thoughts, experiences, and moments from their lives. However, in this digital age, social media activity can be used as evidence in criminal cases in Minneapolis and elsewhere.