If a Minnesota driver is convicted of driving while intoxicated, he/she may be eligible to have the record expunged with proof of certain conditions to the court.
Expunging a DWI in Minnesota
According to the Minnesota Department of Traffic Safety, one out of seven licensed Minnesota drivers has at least one DWI /DUI conviction on their record. Many drivers want to expunge a DWI from their criminal records, but the process is complicated. A DWI attorney must show proof to the court that the expungement will create a benefit that’s at least equal to the public’s interest in maintaining the record.
A Minnesota DWI arrest creates a criminal record which can impact a person’s life for many years. It addition to establishing an arrest record, a DWI creates other problems including:
- Steep fines and jail sentences
- Loss of a driver’s license
- Increased insurance rates
- Difficulty finding or keeping a job
- Difficulty securing housing and loans
- Interference with child custody
When seeking to have a DWI expunged, a Minneapolis DWI attorney can file a DWI Expungement Petition with the court. The petition must show good reason for the expungement. For instance, if there is evidence that the DWI charge is preventing a person from finding or maintaining a job, renting or purchasing a home, getting a bank loan, or gaining child custody, the court will strongly consider the petition.
In 2015, a Minnesota law took effect making expungement of DWI convictions from criminal records possible under certain conditions. DWI expungement eligibility applies to misdemeanors, low-level felony offenses, and juvenile delinquency crimes.
1st Degree DWI
Under current Minnesota law, a 1st Degree DWI is a felony offense that cannot be expunged.
2nd Degree DWI
As a gross misdemeanor, a 2nd Degree DWI may be expunged four years after the discharge of the sentence, as long as the defendant has no new convictions during the four-year period.
3rd Degree DWI
Also a gross misdemeanor offense, a 3rd Degree DWI charge typically applies to first-time offenders with blood alcohol levels greater than .16, or offenders with a second DWI within a 10-year span.
4th Degree DWI
A 4th degree DWI is a misdemeanor offense, but typically charged for first-time offenders with blood alcohol levels less than .16. These convictions may be expunged two years after the discharge of the sentence, so long as the defendant has no new convictions during the two-year period.