Can I Get My DWI Expunged?

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.

Expungement Eligibility

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.

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

Knowing how to choose a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, MN, can help you hire a lawyer who will prepare an effective defense strategy and fight for the best result from your case. One of the crucial tips when selecting a criminal defense lawyer is to vet those with relevant experience in cases like yours. You can only do this when you thoroughly understand the charges you are facing.
People anticipating an arrest in Minneapolis, Minnesota, might ask, “What is the role of a defense attorney during an arrest?” A skilled criminal defense attorney can explain your options, ensure the police follow the rules, and protect your rights. The attorney will build a solid defense, talk to the prosecutor, and fight for your best interests.
Knowing when to hire a criminal lawyer for your case in Minnesota can help protect your constitutional rights and turn the odds in your favor. You should retain a criminal lawyer immediately after learning you are under investigation, get arrested, or are charged with a crime. Seasoned criminal lawyers understand the criminal justice system, can build a winning defense strategy, and aggressively push for a positive outcome of your case.