Repeat DWIs lead to Minnesota felony DWI charge

Not all drunk driving cases are treated in the same way. In Minnesota and other states, certain factors behind individual DWI cases result in more severe charges for a suspect. A Minnesota driver’s case provides an example of when someone can be charged with felony DWI rather than a lesser charge.

Last week, a 36-year-old driver was charged with drunk driving. He was initially arrested for driving with a cancelled license, but later tests proved that his BAC was above the legal limit. This wasn’t the Minnesota man’s first drunk driving arrest, which can mean a significant difference in the criminal charge he faces.

According to news sources, the suspect’s recent DWI incident is his third since last October. His first DWI conviction, however, was in 2007, making this his fourth conviction since then. What does that mean? Minnesota law classifies a drunk driving charge as a felony if the following conditions exist:

  • If a person is convicted of four DWIs in the past 10 years
  • If a person caused an accident while driving drunk

A person convicted of felony DWI faces the risk of having his or her freedoms and future seriously altered. For the one felony conviction, a person could be sentenced to spend seven years in prison.

In the case of the aforementioned Minnesota repeat offender, he is fortunate to not have to serve prison time. Instead, he will serve four years on probation, during which he will be electronically monitored and subjected to alcohol tests.

A DWI conviction can have a huge impact on a person’s life and merits a vigilant defense that is led by the understanding of a DWI’s possible far-reaching consequences, including job loss, driver’s license revocation and loss of one’s vehicle.


Free Press: “Man arrested for third DWI in 10 months,” Dan Nienaber, Aug. 16, 2011

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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