Minnesota Releases 2015 DWI Statistics

The State of Minnesota’s 2016 report on DWI related incidence, arrests, and fatalities shows that DWI arrests and recidivism rates are dropping. However, the report also shows that fatality rates have risen slightly over previous years.

The state’s 2015 report on DWI shows that the direct costs of alcohol-related accidents cost $234 million. These costs include medical bills, property damage, and lost wages. It is estimated that the comprehensive costs are approximately three times greater.

DWI Related Fatalities

In 2014, 88 Minnesotans died in DWI-related accidents. However, that number rose to 95 in 2015. Up until the past year, the number of fatalities had steadily declined from their peak of 164 in 2007.

Across the state, DWI related accidents caused 23% of all traffic fatalities in 2015. This is a slight decrease from the five-year average of 24%. Similarly, alcohol was a factor in 7% of all accident injuries. The report shows that 2,203 people suffered injuries in DWI accidents. This was slightly lower than the five-year average of 8%.

Those involved in an alcohol-related fatality accident have an average BAC of .19. 60% of drivers killed in alcohol-related accidents are between the ages of 35-39, while only 44% are between the ages of 20-24.

DWI Arrests and Recidivism Rates are Declining

Over the past 10 years, the number of DWI arrests has steadily declined by 40%. In 2015, there were 25,027 arrests made for impaired driving. This is down from 42,007 in 2006, and 25,386 in 2014. Across the state, one in seven licensed drivers has at least one DWI on their record.

Moreover, fewer individuals recividated following their first DWI. In 2000, 21% of offenders had a subsequent DWI within 48 months. By 2011, that number had dropped to 16%.

Further, in 2001, 25% of drivers with an existing DWI recidivated with a third offense within 48 months. By 2011, that rate had dropped to 18%.

The report shows that 62% of first-time offenders don’t recidivate within 15 years of the first offense. It also shows that only 54% of second-time offenders recidivate during the same time period.

The state attributes these declining rates in part to the growing Ignition Interlock Program that many St. Paul DWI lawyers are able to enroll their clients in. The program allows first-time offenders and those convicted of driving with BAC’s of .16 or greater to use the devices to regain their driving privileges. This is the average BAC level of individuals arrested for DWI.

Currently, 9,780 individuals are enrolled in the program and 12,074 have successfully completed the program since it was initiated in 2013.

DWI Conviction Rates Vary Across the State

Of the 25,027 DWI arrests made in 2015, 71% resulted in convictions. In Ramsey County, 68% of DWI arrests result in a conviction. The state’s highest conviction rates are in Cook Wilkin, and Watonwan which have conviction rates higher than 90%. Hennepin County has the lowest rate with only 66% of DWI arrests resulting in a conviction.

DWI Rates Vary Considerably by Time, Day and Month, but not Location

The greatest number of fatal alcohol-related accidents occur between 11pm and 12am. There were no fatal accidents recorded between 9am and 11am.

In Minnesota, DWI arrest rates begin to rise on Wednesday and peak on Saturday. From Sunday, the arrest rates gradually decline until Tuesday:

  • 2,774 were arrested on Thursday
  • 3,745 were arrested on Friday
  • 6,568 were arrested on Saturday
  • 5,662 were arrested on Sunday
  • 2,051 were arrested on Monday
  • 1,930 were arrested on Tuesday
  • 2,297 were arrested on Wednesday

In 2015, the highest rate of DWI related incidents occurred in August when 2,450 people were arrested. The lowest rate occurred in December when 1,876 were arrested.

Interestingly, 51.8% of arrests occurred in the Twin Cities Metro Area, while 48.2% occurred in other areas throughout the state.

In Ramsey County, 10.2% of residents have at least one DWI arrest on their driving record. 6.1% have one incident, while 2.2% have two incidents, and 1.9% have three or more incidents.

Mahnomen County has the highest rate with 24% of residents having at least one DWI arrest on their record. The county with the lowest incidence rate is Stevens County where only 8.1% of residents have a DWI arrest on their record.

Age & Gender are Significant Factors

In 2015, 16,422 men were arrested for DWI. This was considerably higher than the 6,368 women.

In addition to gender, there are considerable differences in the ages of offenders. In 2015, 4,908 offenders were between the ages of 20-24. This demographic has had the most arrests for DWI every year since 1996.

Across the state, there are 358,781 drivers with one DWI on their record. 45,071 are between the ages of 50-54, while only 12,534 are between the ages of 20-24.

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

Any mistake during the early stages of your interaction with the legal system can result in serious, lifelong consequences. Immediate access to a 24-hour lawyer for criminal defense in Minneapolis, MN, can help calm the situation and improve the likelihood of a desirable outcome.
The criminal defense process in Minnesota constitutes several steps, starting with investigations and culminating with appeals. This process can be long and exhausting. An arrest alone can leave you scared, confused, and overwhelmed with emotions. Making logical decisions in this state can be difficult, especially if it is your first time interacting with the criminal justice system.