Facing your first DUI charge can be a frightening and unsettling experience. People often assume they are guilty just because they are charged, but this is not true. A first-time DUI charge does not necessarily need to lead to a conviction, and you have the right to present a defense on your behalf.
A dedicated attorney could act as your legal advocate through your first-time DUI in Edina. By working with a skilled DUI attorney, you could build a strong defense that minimizes the impact of your charges on your life.
DUI and DWI Laws in Edina
Drunk or drugged driving is commonly called driving under the influence (DUI). Under Minnesota Statute § 169A.20, the offense is called driving while impaired (DWI). These two terms are interchangeable in common conversation, but a defendant will see that they are charged with a DWI on any paperwork from the prosecutor.
A first-time DWI can occur when a person is operating, driving, or is in physical control of a motor vehicle while:
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Knowingly influenced by a hazardous substance that may affect the body and substantially affect their ability to drive
- Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08% or higher
- Having any amount of a Schedule I or II drug in their body, except marijuana
Anyone who has been arrested for driving under the influence should consult with a skilled attorney as soon as they are able. An attorney could get to work speaking with witnesses and reviewing the circumstances of the arrest to build a robust defense.
Criminal Penalties for a First Time Conviction
A criminal penalty is imposed by the criminal court if a defendant is convicted of a DWI. A first-time DWI—or the first offense within ten years—is considered a misdemeanor offense. Its maximum penalty is ninety days in jail and a maximum of a $1,000 fine.
The offense may be a gross misdemeanor if any of the following apply:
- The defendant refused testing
- The defendant had a BAC of .16% or higher
- A passenger who was under the age of sixteen was in the vehicle
A gross misdemeanor first-time DWI could result in one year in jail and a maximum fine of up to $3,000. All first-time DUI offenders in Edina must also take a chemical dependency assessment as part of their sentence.
Administrative Penalties for Edina DUI’s
In addition to the criminal sanctions a defendant may face, they will also face the imposition of administrative sanctions. These are administered by the state Department of Public Safety. They will apply immediately upon conviction, and some may even apply while the case is pending but before conviction occurs.
A first DWI will result in a revocation of the driver’s license for ninety days, which can increase to one year if the defendant refuses a test or blows .16% or more. This higher BAC amount may also result in a “plate impoundment.” Special plates are then required, often called “whiskey plates,” in order to allow anyone to drive that car.
Discuss Your First-Time DUI in Edina with a Dedicated Attorney
Even a first-time DUI can result in major penalties. A strong criminal defense may help reduce these potential penalties or even prevent them altogether. Every case is different, so it is crucial to consult with a knowledgeable attorney promptly to ensure all possible steps are taken to defend against your charges.
Reach out today to discuss your case with a knowledgeable legal professional. A skilled member of our team could review your first-time DUI in Edina and begin building your case.