A judge who is hearing a driving while intoxicated (DWI) case in Minnesota can sentence a defendant to many different penalties if the defendant pleads guilty or is convicted. They can put someone in jail or require that they complete a period of probation. They can impose financial penalties, including significant fines.
Judges can also suspend someone’s driver’s license. Someone who is convicted in court can lose their driving privileges, which can affect everything from their household budget to their job security. It can be difficult for people to manage daily life without on-demand personal transportation.
How long might someone lose their driving privileges for after a Minnesota DWI conviction?
The consequences could last for years
Several factors influence what licensing penalties the courts may impose on a person convicted of a DWI offense. The individual’s driving history and overall blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can both impact the terms of the licensing penalties.
A first DWI could lead to up to 90 days without driving privileges. However, guilty pleas or the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID) can reduce that period. Those who plead guilty to a first DWI may only need to complete a 30-day license suspension. Drivers can also retain their driving privileges if they agree to install an IID for the entire 90-day suspension period.
A second DWI offense within 10 years of the first typically results in either a year of license suspension or a year-long IID requirement. A third DWI means that the state cancels someone’s license. They need to go at least three years without any failed tests to remove the IID in their vehicle. A fourth DWI is a felony offense and could lead to four years without a driver’s license.
In scenarios where people have a higher BAC of more than 0.16% but less than 0.20%, the penalties could be even more severe. Other factors, such as having a minor child in the vehicle at the time of someone’s arrest, can also lead to increased penalties. Breath test refusal and situations that lead to the injury of others can lead to secondary charges and additional penalties.
Learning about Minnesota’s approach to DWI penalties may help people to make more informed decisions about how to respond to their pending charges.