Minnesota DWI laws extend beyond charges

The Minnesota Department of public safety says that during the first ten days of the state’s December enforcement campaign targeting driving while impaired, multiple Minnesota law enforcement agencies have arrested drivers on DWI allegations that include blood alcohol levels of 0.30 percent or greater.

The multiple DWI arrests alleging 0.30 percent readings have occurred in areas such as Bloomington, Robbinsdale and Dakota and Goodhue Counties in and near the Twins Cities metropolitan area. Other arrests have been made near the North Shore, in St. Cloud and in Martin and Olmsted counties in Southern Minnesota.

Minnesota law treats high blood alcohol tests more harshly in DWI cases. Normally, a person arrested for a first-time DWI offense in Minnesota faces a fourth-degree DWI, a misdemeanor. However, the law allows prosecutors to pursue a third-degree DWI charge on a first-time offense when an alcohol test returns a result of 0.20 percent or more.

Other consequences also can attach with a higher blood alcohol reading. This summer, this blog discussed the harsher consequences that began in July for offenders who are arrested for DWI with an alcohol test showing a reading of 0.16 percent or greater. Many Minnesota drivers are aware that an implied consent loss of license is associated with DWI arrests.

Typically for first-time offenders, a DWI license revocation runs for 90 days. However in July, the implied consent law created a new one year revocation period mandatory for first-time DWI offenders who test 0.16 or more. First-time offenders who test at 0.16 or more can choose to install an ignition interlock device on their car, but that comes with installation and monthly service fees, which can add up.

It is important to note that law enforcement agencies statewide are out on the road seeking to arrest drivers on suspicion of drunk driving throughout the year. Through the remainder of December, Minnesota law enforcement agencies will be continuing the beefed-up DWI enforcement campaign.

Anyone facing allegations of DWI should consider speaking to an experienced Minneapolis and St. Paul DWI defense attorney as soon as possible after an arrest to better gain an understanding of the potential consequences and defenses available in an individual case.

Source: Northfield News, “State DWI campaign: More than 800 arrested in Minnesota,” Dec. 19, 2011

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-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. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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