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DWI Sentencing; Penalities You Face if Convicted

Mandatory Minimums for DWI offenses:

In 2005, the Minnesota Legislature added the felony level DWI offense. At that same time, they also added in mandatory jail penalties for 2nd, 3rd and 4th offenses within 10 years of the first offense. For purposes of the penalties, a prior offense includes a conviction for a DWI offense or an alcohol related drivers license revocation. This illustrates the importance of fighting the Implied Consent (Driver's License) side of your case when you have a good, potentially winnable legal issue.

Mandatory Minimum Jail sentences for DWI convictions

1st offense in 10 years/Misdemeanor Level Offense:

No Mandatory jail

2nd offense in 10 years/Gross Misdemeanor Level Offense

30 days in jail / of which 48 hours must be spent in custody/the balance can sometimes be
served on electronic home monitoring

3rd offense in 10 years/Gross Misdemeanor Level Offense

90 days in jail / of which at least 30 days must actually be spent in custody/the balance can sometimes be served on electronic home monitoring

4th offense in 10 years/Felony Level Offense

180 days in jail / sometimes a portion of this sentence may be served on Electronic Home monitoring. However, often there the driver charged with a Felony DWI is still on probation for a prior offense. So, additional time may need to be served on that offense, also.


Ignition Interlock

ignition interlock in minnesota

As of July 1, 2011, a person with a DWI offense or multiple DWI offenses can now obtain a full drivers license, in many cases, after signing the:

  • Ignition Interlock Agreement,
  • Completing the Insurance Certificate Form evidencing proof of insurance
  • Paying the reinstatement fee of $680 plus the new license card fee,
  • Passing the DWI test upon entering into the Ignition Interlock Program and having the device installed in thevehicle. The Ignition Interlock equipment requires that the driver blow into the device prior to driving and that he or she have no measurable alcohol in his or her system at or above the .02 level, which is a miniscule amount of alcohol.

The machine retests the driver every 20-30 minutes while they are driving. The device will not shut off the car if it detects alcohol. However, if the device believes that a driver has been drinking, it will not allow the car to restart the next time the driver stops the vehicle and turns off the ignition. The driver then has to wait at least 15 minutes to: blow into the machine again, give a clean, alcohol free reading to start up the vehicle.

Number of Offenses

Number of Offenses Length of
Revocation
Number of Days/No Limited License Eligibility
First offense - at or over .08 but less than .16 90 15/no change from prior law
First offense - at or over .16 1 year 0 days with Interlock
First offense - Test Refusal 1 year 0 days with Interlock
Second Offense - at or
over .08, but less than .16
1 year 0 days with Interlock
Second Offense - at or over .16 2 years 0 days with Interlock
Third Offense within 10 years - DL Cancellation*** 3 years Limited DL for 1 year / Interlock throughout
Fourth Offense within 10 years - DL Cancellation 4 years Limited DL for 1 year / Interlock throughout
Fifth Offense within 10 years - DL Cancellation 6 years Limited DL for 1 year / Interlock throughout