If a police officer determines that your judgment while driving is impaired because of balance or speech issues, they have the authority to make an arrest for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). An arrest for DUI or DWI can be a confusing and scary time for anyone, but our experienced criminal defense attorneys could help you learn your rights and responsibilities and reach the best potential outcome.
You are not allowed to drive a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol content (BAC) in Minneapolis is 0.08 percent or higher. However, you may still be arrested with a BAC below the threshold if there are other reasons to indicate you were drinking. Call a seasoned Minneapolis DUI lawyer to schedule an appointment and review your case when you need help after an arrest.
Levels of DUI Offense Severity
Minnesota criminal statutes break DUIs into four levels of severity: first-, second-, third-, and fourth-degree driving while intoxicated offenses. Fourth-degree convictions are misdemeanor offenses, while third- and second-degree DWIs are gross misdemeanor criminal convictions, which are more serious.
The penalties and other adverse consequences of a DUI may increase significantly, depending on the case specifics. A first-time offense without aggravating factors may result in the loss of a driver’s license for up to a year and legal fees, court costs, and fines of up to $20,000. Aggravating factors (which can increase the severity of the penalties) include prior DWI convictions, a high BAC level, or having a child in the car at the time of arrest.
A person guilty of impaired driving in the first degree will receive a felony conviction on their permanent criminal record. Regardless of whether the offense is a felony or misdemeanor, the potential penalties include:
- Jail sentences
- License suspension
- Vehicle impoundment
- Drug and alcohol classes and regular testing
- Ignition interlock device installation
An ignition interlock device (IID) is a compact, handheld Breathalyzer people must pay to install in their vehicle after impaired driving convictions.
Ignition Interlock Devices
These devices prevent a person from starting the car if alcohol is detected on their breath. Second-time offenders and people with a first-time DWI conviction with a BAC of 0.16 percent or higher must install an IID in their vehicle for a maximum of two years.
Three or more DUI conviction penalties could mean a person must install an ignition IID for up to six years. A DWI conviction could have lasting repercussions regardless of the degree of charges. A Minneapolis DUI lawyer could help navigate the complex criminal court process and advocate for the defendant in court.
Felony Criminal Vehicular Operation Charges
When an impaired driver causes a car crash and another person sustains substantial bodily harm or fatal injuries, the state may charge the driver with felony criminal vehicular operation. According to Minnesota Statutes § 609.2113, a person who was found guilty under the statute faces the potential of five years in prison and fines of up to $20,000.
The state may elevate the charges and potential penalties when aggravating factors are present, such as prior arrests for intoxicated driving. A DUI lawyer in Minneapolis could provide legal advice and help strategize the most effective plan to minimize the penalties.
Schedule a Consultation With an Experienced DUI Attorney in Minneapolis
DWIs are one of the most common type of arrests in Minneapolis. When you or someone you love is facing DWI charges, you need to hire a lawyer who knows the local court system and how to get charges reduced or dropped.
A knowledgeable Minneapolis DUI lawyer understands your stress and could help you reach the best potential outcome in your case. Call today for a free review of your case and begin strategizing as soon as possible.