Minnesota DWI license issues go further than the driver’s license

Many Minnesotans may recognize that a charge for driving while impaired will potentially have a significant impact of the person’s ability to drive. While a person accused of drunk driving can expect their driving privilege to be revoked, the license revocation may be challenged in a civil hearing apart from the DWI criminal case, if the driver timely files a legal challenge to the revocation.

But, fewer drivers may be aware of licensing issues that may attach to vehicles the driver owns. Minnesota law allows officials to require certain people to display what are commonly referred to as “whiskey plates” on a vehicle after a DWI offense.

So-called whiskey plates are a form of special registration for the vehicle.

But, before a person applies for the special registration plates, the state essentially impounds the license plates that were on the car at the time of the alleged drunk driving offense. Minnesota law allows license plate impoundment in specific circumstances such as:

  • When a DWI charge is based upon an alcohol reading of 0.16 percent or more
  • When law enforcement alleges a minor under the age of 16 and at least 3 years younger than the driver was present in the car during a drunk driving offense
  • When a person is charged with DWI with a prior qualified alcohol-related incident within 10 years of the new DWI charge
  • When a driver’s license has been cancelled as inimical to public safety and the driver is arrested for a new DWI

Like a driver’s license revocation, the plate impoundment may be challenged in some cases. Applying for the special plates may also be an option. A Minneapolis DWI defense lawyer can explain the different issues and procedures involved that can surround a DWI license plate impoundment.


Source: Alexandria Echo Press, “What does it take to ‘earn’ a ‘whiskey’ license plate?,” Sergeant Jesse Grabow, July 29, 2013

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

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