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What does impaired driving involve in Minnesota?

What does impaired driving involve in Minnesota?

In August, a captain of a Wisconsin sheriff’s office was pulled over in Minnesota on suspicion of driving under the influence. According to, the woman initially refused a breath test but finally submitted to one, registering a 0.14 percent blood alcohol concentration. She could face as much as 90 days in jail, as a first-time DWI is a misdemeanor under Minnesota law.

All drivers across the state should have an understanding of how the state treats both the investigative process as well as a conviction. Knowing all the information can keep residents out of unnecessary trouble.

The substances

Alcohol is not the only substance that can warrant a driving while intoxicated charge. According to the state’s law, someone may face criminal charges if driving under the influence of controlled substances or any substance that the person knows could impair driving.

In order for drivers 21 and older to break the law while having alcohol in their systems, they must have a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.08 percent. Drivers under the age of 21 may be charged if any alcohol is detected. When it comes to marijuana, the law states that any amount detected through proper testing will merit a DWI charge.

Taking the tests

All 50 states have an implied consent law, but Minnesota is just one of 11 that criminalizes refusing a blood, breath or urine test. Drivers who choose not to take the test may be subject to a fine and will lose their licenses for one year.

For those who take a test and fail, there may be severe penalties, such as the following:

  • A first offense merits up to 90 days in jail and fines of as much as $1,000, in addition to license suspension for up to 90 days.
  • A second and third offense may mean up to a year in prison and $3,000 in fines as well as license suspension.
  • A fourth offense can constitute as much as seven years in prison, a four-year license suspension and $14,000 in fines and penalties.

In every situation in which people are convicted of DWI, an ignition interlocking device will be placed on their vehicle in order to prevent drivers from turning on the car without first having to prove that they are not under the influence.

Minnesota law enforcement arrested nearly 25,000 people for impaired driving in 2012, the state’s Public Safety Department reports. Drivers who understand their rights may be equipped to avoid such circumstances.

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