Handling A DWI In Minnesota

Don’t presume that you are guilty. People assume that DWIs are objective, meaning there is no room to question the charges. Under some circumstances, a DWI is a felony. As serious as the offense and repercussions are, that doesn’t eliminate your rights—including your chance to present a defense.

There are four different degrees of DWI charges in Minnesota. The severity of the punishments may deter you from drinking (or becoming impaired at all) before driving. The penalty depends on if there are any aggravating factors. These are:

  • Having a child in the car (under the age of 16)
  • Any prior impaired driving conviction within the last 10 years
  • A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .16 (twice the legal limit) or higher

These are the penalties associated with a 1st Offense DWIs in Minnesota:

  • 1st Offense (no aggravating factors) –  This is a misdemeanor with up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1000 fine. 
  • 1st Offense (with an aggravating factor) – This is a gross misdemeanor. You may receive up to 1 year in jail and/or a $3000 fine. 

Jail Time Might Not Be What You Think

Though actual incarceration is possible, your jail time might be Electric Home Monitoring (EHM) or Remote Electronic Alcohol Monitoring (REAM). 

For REAM, DWI offenders will give times when they will be home. They will also have equipment in their homes to test their BAC. They will receive calls at random. Then they will prove their identity and conduct a breathalyzer test over the phone. The penalties for failing this (having a .03% or higher BAC) depend on the sentence connected to your DWI conviction. 

Defenses Against A DWI

The best defense is not to drive while impaired. Your next best course of action is to have an attorney. If you are being charged with a crime, contact a criminal defense attorney. Express your desire to speak to legal counsel. Not only is an attorney capable of ensuring your rights are protected—and that you exercise those rights—but being denied the opportunity to see a lawyer jeopardizes the case against you. 

What does a .08% BAC mean? That equates to .08 grams of ethanol in 100 milliliters of blood. For a breathalyzer, it is .08 grams for 210 liters of breath.

Notice that a blood test and a breathalyzer test two different things. The concept is that levels of ethanol in your lungs directly relate to how much is in your blood. People are different. And a high breathalyzer does not guarantee the level of ethanol in your blood. Do breathalyzers have a margin for error? Absolutely. 

Neve Webb

If you are being (or have been) charged with a crime, contact the attorneys at Neve Webb for a consultation. Our job is to ensure your rights are protected and to get you the best possible outcome.

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