Minnesota Drunk Driving Laws, Penalties and Fines

Learn about the penalties for a DUI / DWI conviction in Minnesota.

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What are the penalties for a DUI/DWI in Minnesota?


1st Offense

2nd Offense

3rd Offense

4th Offense

Jail

Up to 90 days

Up to 1 year

Up to 1 year

Up to 7 years

Fines and Penalties

$1,000

$3,000

$3,000

$14,000

License Suspension

Up to 90 days

180 days

Min. 1 year

Up to 4 years

IID** Required

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Lookback Period: 10 years (Period of time that prior DWIs are relevant for sentencing) 

**Interlock Ignition Device

How much do you have to drink (BAC*) for a DWI in Minnesota?

Under 21

.00% (zero tolerance)

21 or older

.08%

** BAC = blood alcohol content

How many drinks does it take? Check the BAC chart.

You may want to try our BAC Calculator, however I wouldn't let any results encourage you to drink and drive.

What if you refuse to take a chemical test in Minnesota?

Minnesota has an implied consent law. That means that if you refuse to submit to a chemical test you will be subject to a fine and automatic license suspension. Learn more about Minnesota’s implied consent law.

 

1st Offense

2d offense

3rd Offense

Refusal to take test

1 year revocation of license

1 year revocation of license

1 year revocation of license

Disclaimer: We try to keep the information provided here up to date. However, laws often change, as do their interpretation and application. Different jurisdictions within a state may enforce the laws in different ways. For that reason, we recommended that you seek the advice of a local attorney familiar with DWI cases in your area.

Can you plead to a lesser offense than DWI in Minnesota?

A defendant might receive a "wet reckless," or a conviction of reckless driving involving alcohol, as a result of a plea bargain in which a charge of drunk driving is reduced to a case of reckless driving. There is no statutory provision on whether a wet reckless plea bargain will be accepted in Minnesota, but it's possible a lawyer may be able to create a plea bargain for you.

New Minnesota DUI Laws: IIDs

As of 2010, in order to have restricted driving privileges, those convicted of a DUI must allow the installation of an Interlock Ignition Device. Those who refuse the installation will be prohibited from any driving rights. The no-driving policy will range from 12 months to 6 years depending on the case.

Drinking and Driving Laws in Minnesota

The State of Minnesota prohibits the operation of a motor vehicle by drivers with a .08 percent or higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC).The .08 percent limit is the standard measurement used across the United States for the "impaired" driver. Minnesota has lower BAC limits defined for minors (.02 BAC) and commercial drivers (.04 BAC). Minnesota's DWI (driving while intoxicated) law includes impairment by alcohol and drugs such as marijuana, cocaine and barbiturates.

How many drinks does it take to reach the legal limit in Minnesota? There isn't one right answer to this question, however there are calculators and charts that can help estimate your blood alcohol concentration level. These types of devices should only be used as a reference as each individual has unique physical characteristics such as weight, sex, body-fat percentage and genetics that play a role in determining their BAC level.

The best answer is not to drink and drive. The State of Minnesota has strict laws for drunk driving, and when you drink and drive in Minnesota, you risk your freedom, finances and your future.

The first time you are convicted of drunk driving in the State of Minnesota you will have your drivers license suspended for a minimum of 90 days.

This suspension could be reduced to 30 days if the offender pleads guilty to DWI. You will also be fined up to $1,000 and/or spend 90 days in jail. If your drivers license is revoked,you will need to pay an additional $680 reinstatement fee, complete a DWI knowledge test, a drivers license application and a chemical assessment.

The second time you are convicted of drunk driving (within 10 years of the first offense) your drivers license will be suspended for a minimum of 180 days. A work permit will be issued after half of the revocation time has passed and your reinstatement requirements have been met. You will also spend 1 year in jail and/or pay a $3,000 fine. Your license plates will be impounded.

When your drivers license is revoked,you will need to pay an additional $680 reinstatement fee, complete a DWI knowledge test, a drivers license application and a chemical assessment.

The third time you are arrested for a DWI you will lose your drivers license for a minimum of 1 year. There will be no allowance for a work permit until the year has passed and you have met all of the reinstatement requirements.

You will be ordered to attend treatment and rehabilitation and show proof of abstinence for a minimum of 1 year, and lifetime abstinence is required after reinstatement. You will also be sentenced to 1 year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine. Your vehicle will be forfeited and the license plates will be impounded. When your drivers license is revoked,you will need to pay an additional $680 reinstatement fee, complete a DWI knowledge test, a drivers license application and a chemical assessment.

You may be charged for a felony DWI if you have been arrested for the 4th time in 10 years for driving while intoxicated. Your drivers license may be revoked for 4 years and you will be ordered to attend treatment and rehabilitation and proof of abstinence for a minimum of 1 year, and lifetime abstinence is required after reinstatement.

If you are convicted of a felony DWI you could serve up to 7 years in prison with a possible 5 year conditional release plus a $14,000 fine. When your drivers license is revoked,you will need to pay an additional $680 reinstatement fee, complete a DWI knowledge test, a drivers license application and a chemical assessment.

Will a first time DWI go on your criminal record?

A Minnesota DWI and has two levels: driving over the .08 limit, and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs – the latter does not require that you are over the .08 level.  The first offense DWI is a fourth degree misdemeanor unless you have had a prior DWI in the last 10 years; have a passenger in the vehicle 16 or under; tested over .20; or you refused to take any alcohol related test. 

Keep in mind that even information on a DWI from another state can count as a previous DWI.  Keep in mind also that Minnesota has an implied consent law which means that you are legally required to submit to an alcohol related test to show BAC. 

There are several penalties available to the court for your misdemeanor DWI.  Furthermore, if you plead guilty or are found guilty of even the first offense; the conviction will be on your driving record for life, and it will also be on your criminal record.  If you are not found guilty, you can ask your attorney for assistance in getting the arrest expunged.  In addition, because Minnesota shares DWI information with most other states, that DWI can follow you almost anywhere. 

If you are facing a DWI in Minnesota, even a first offense, you will need to consult an experienced attorney to help in mounting possible defenses, seeing that your penalties are minimized, and helping with expungement if you are found not guilty.

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