DWI: WILL MY LICENSE BE REVOKED IN MN?

If you're charged with a DWI in Minnesota, you're not only facing potential jail and fines, but your driver's license can be revoked for between 90 days and a few years, and you could have a DWI on your driving record for the rest of your life. Minnesota law says that you give implied consent to have your blood, urine or breath tested if the police believe that you're over the .08 limit or under the influence of alcohol or a drug while you're driving. If you test over .08 or if you refuse the test, your license can be revoked for at least 90 days.

Why is this important? When you're charged with a DWI, you have two things to worry about: the criminal case and the Implied Consent case. The criminal case deals with jail, fines and probation. The Implied Consent case deals with your right to drive and your driving record. Even if you win your DWI criminal case or you get a lower plea (like a careless driving), unless you also fight and win your Implied Consent case, you still get a DWI on your driving record for the rest of your life, and you also still get revoked. That's why you have to fight the Implied Consent case, and realistically, you need an experienced DWI lawyer to do it for you.

Once you're notified that your license is being revoked, you only get 30 days (for a breath test) or 33 days (for blood or urine tests) to file the Implied Consent challenge. Don't wait until you get a court date in the mail to call a lawyer, because if you wait you might miss the deadline and then you're stuck with the revocation and the DWI on your driving record for the rest of your life. If you gave a blood, urine or breath sample, or if you refused to give a sample, you should call an experienced DWI lawyer to file your Implied Consent challenge right away.

  1. If you took a breath test on the Intoxilyzer 5000 and your result was .08 or more, then the officer probable gave you a white piece of paper that says Notice and Order of Revocation at the top; or
  2. If you took a blood or urine test and the results come back over .08 or you had a drug in your system, then you will eventually receive a letter in the mail from the Department of Public Safety indicating that your driving privileges are being revoked. So if you took a blood or urine test, you won't be revoked on the day you were arrested, but you will eventually get a letter; or
  3. If the officer thinks you "refused" the test, then they will give you a piece of paper that tells you your license is being revoked for one year.

I also have a link on my website to the DMV where you can check the status of your driver's license. To access the link, go to www.arrestedmn.com and click on the page.

I failed the test or I refused. Should I really get a lawyer? Yes. Protecting your license and driving record is important, and there are a lot of ways to win the Implied Consent case. Even if you allegedly failed the test or refused, you could win the case if:

  • The police pulled you over for an illegal reason; or
  • The police did not have enough cause to ask you to get out of the car to take field sobriety tests; or
  • You did well on the field sobriety tests; or
  • The police did not properly inform you of your rights and the consequences of taking or refusing a blood, urine or breath test; or
  • The police did not give you an opportunity to consult with an attorney before deciding whether to take the test; or
  • The police coerced you into taking a test; or
  • The test was not valid or reliable; or
  • The police prevented you from getting an additional test.

Those are only a few examples. An experienced DWI lawyer will make every challenge that applies in your case and will maximize your chances of protecting your driver's license and record.

But what if I got my DWI lowered to a careless driving or it was thrown out? The Implied Consent law does not care if you were never charged criminally with a DWI, does not care if your DWI was dismissed in the criminal case, does not care if you pled your DWI down to a lower charge such as a careless driving or a speeding ticket, and does not care if you went all the way to trial and were found not guilty. The Implied Consent law will still keep you revoked and will still keep the DWI on your driving record forever, unless you make a timely challenge to the Implied Consent revocation and actually win at the Implied Consent hearing.

Some lawyers will tell you they got you a because they got your DWI down to a careless. In most cases, that is not a at all. Why? Because unless they also fight and win your Implied Consent, you still have the DWI on your driving record for the rest of your life, and you are still revoked for at least 90 days, and your insurance will skyrocket. I have seen too many people think they were not getting a DWI by pleading guilty to a careless or a lower charge, only to find out later that their lawyer never advised them that they were still getting a DWI on their driving record.

Can a public defender do my Implied Consent case? No. It is not because they do not care, quite the contrary. Rather, it is because their budgets do not allow them to fight a civil case for you, and you have no constitutional right to a public defender in a civil case. So even if you qualify for a public defender in your criminal DWI case, be aware that no matter what happens in that criminal case, if you do not also fight and win your Implied Consent case, the DWI and revocation will stay on your record forever.

This is a general summary of Minnesota's Implied Consent law, it should not be relied upon for legal advice. If you want specific legal advice, please contact me for a free consultation.