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 WISN.com, 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.

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

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.
Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.