Charges for driving while intoxicated can be severe, and even a first-time charge can leave a lasting impact on your criminal record and your personal life. If you are convicted of this offense, you could face steep fines, incarceration, and a driver’s license suspension, and your reputation and ability to earn a living may be impaired.

If you have been charged with drunk driving, you could consult with a Hennepin County DUI lawyer about the circumstances of your situation. A skilled attorney could help you minimize or avoid the consequences associated with these charges and fight for your rights in and out of court.

Intoxicated Driving Offenses

Chapter 169A of the 2019 Minnesota Statutes prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, a substance the driver knows can cause impairment, or any combination of these. A driver whose blood alcohol concentration tests at or above .08 percent when measured within two hours of their operation of a vehicle may be charged with impaired driving. This rule is also applicable to a driver whose body contains any level of a substance other than marijuana listed on Schedule I or II of the United States Controlled Substances Act.

The minimum blood-alcohol concentration needed to charge the driver of a commercial vehicle is .04 percent. A conviction under these conditions could lead to the suspension of a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Someone facing a charge of driving under the influence in Hennepin County could assess the likelihood of a conviction and the potential consequences by consulting with a local attorney.

Penalties Associated with Intoxicated Driving

State law prohibits someone under suspicion of driving while intoxicated from refusing a breath test or from refusing a blood or urine test when a search warrant compels them to take one. The offense of driving under intoxication is separated into four degrees, with the first-degree offense carrying a penalty of imprisonment of up to seven years, a fine of up to $14,000, or both. A first-degree DUI charge may be levied when a driver has received three prior convictions in the last ten years, has a prior felony DUI conviction, or has a prior conviction for a felony specified under Minnesota Statutes §169A.24.

A second-degree DUI can arise from intoxicated driving that includes two aggravating factors, such as a prior DUI conviction. Third-degree includes one aggravating factor, and fourth-degree includes none. Someone in Hennepin County facing any degree of the offense could benefit from the advice of an intoxicated driving attorney in the area.

Driving Other Motorized Vehicles While Impaired

The restrictions regarding the operation of motorboats, snowmobiles, off-highway motorcycles, and off-road and all-terrain vehicles while impaired mirror those that apply to driving motor vehicles on surface streets. It is unlawful to operate such vehicles under the influence of alcohol or controlled Schedule I or Schedule II substances other than marijuana or tetrahydrocannabinols.

State law also prohibits anyone from operating a school bus or Head Start bus with physical evidence of alcohol consumption in their body. This offense constitutes a misdemeanor. If it occurs within ten years of another DUI or while transporting a child who is under the age of 16 or more than three years younger than the driver, it qualifies as a gross misdemeanor.

Seek a Hennepin County Attorney for Your DUI Case

Whether you face a first-degree felony DUI charge in Hennepin County or a less severe misdemeanor charge, it is important to take the necessary steps to avoid a conviction. A Hennepin County DUI lawyer could explain the extent of your charges and help you mitigate the potential penalties. Seeking legal counsel early in your case could allow you the best chance to build a strong defense. Call today to schedule a confidential consultation and learn more about your options.