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DWI Lawyer

Being charged with a DWI (Driving While Impaired) is an intimidating event for anyone. Whether this was your first DWI offense or you have several, knowing your legal rights is critical to defending yourself. A skillful and knowledgeable Minneapolis DWI lawyer is another key to ensuring your case turns out as favorably as possible.

Learn more about Minneapolis DWIs, including the various statutes and laws, DWI penalties, and how the experienced DWI lawyers at Milavetz Law in Minneapolis can help you through this stressful event.

What Is a DWI in Minneapolis?

If caught operating, driving, or controlling a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Minneapolis, police could charge you with a DWI. You could be subject to a DWI if you have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or higher while driving.

You could also be charged if you have any amount of Schedule I or Schedule II drugs in your system, except marijuana. The state must prove you were under the influence to charge you with a marijuana DWI — simply showing THC levels in your body is insufficient.

What Are the Local DWI Laws?

You can face four degrees of charges when driving while impaired in Minneapolis and the rest of Minnesota. These range from first-degree, the most severe, to fourth-degree, the least severe.

First-Degree DWI (Felony Charge)

Being charged with a first-degree DWI in Minneapolis is quite serious. A first-degree DWI is a felony charge, which can have severe consequences for the rest of your life if convicted. 

There are two ways a person can be charged with a first-degree DWI in Minnesota:

  • They have had a previous felony DWI at any point in their life.
  • This charge is their fourth DWI within the last ten years.

Second-Degree DWI (Gross Misdemeanor)

A second-degree DWI isn’t as serious as a felony, but it can still bring life-disrupting changes, including up to a year in jail. You can be charged with a second-degree DWI in Minneapolis in three ways:

  • Your current offense has two or more aggravating factors.
  • You are charged with refusal and have had a prior DWI in the past ten years.
  • You are charged with refusal and have a minor in the vehicle.

Third-Degree DWI (Gross Misdemeanor)

A third-degree DWI is the second least serious DWI charge in Minneapolis. However, it is still considered a gross misdemeanor and often comes with minimum jail time that could be as long as a year.

You can be charged with a third-degree DWI in Minneapolis in two ways. The first is if your current DWI includes an aggravating factor, and the second is if you are charged with a refusal to test.

Fourth-Degree DWI (Misdemeanor)

A fourth-degree DWI is the least serious degree of DWI charges in Minneapolis. However, even a fourth-degree DWI charge can disrupt your life, and these charges can be punishable by up to 90 days in jail. You should be charged with a fourth-degree DWI if your current offense included no aggravating factors.

Aggravating Factors in a DWI

Most of the above charges mention aggravating factors that could raise the degree of your DWI. There are three aggravating factors listed under the Minnesota statute, including:

  1. An impaired driving offense in the last ten years
  2. A BAC of 0.16 or more
  3. Receiving a DWI while driving with a child under 16 in your car if the child is at least 36 months younger than you

DWI Penalties

Each of the four degrees of DWIs comes with specific penalties matched to the severity of the offense. None of the charges are without risk of jail time and fines. However, having a skilled criminal defense lawyer on your side may help you reduce your penalty.

First-Degree DWI Penalties

If you are charged with a first-degree DWI, the penalties in Minneapolis can be heavy.

  • Imprisonment: The court can sentence you to up to seven years in prison.
  • Fines: The court can fine you up to $14,000.
  • Other: The prosecutor and police can seize the vehicle you drove. However, a knowledgeable lawyer can challenge this action. Felons sometimes face difficulties securing employment, loans, and housing. Felons also lose the right to vote and carry guns. Fighting these charges to prevent a felony from compromising your future endeavors is often advisable.

Second-Degree DWI Penalties

A second-degree DWI charge in Minneapolis is categorized as a gross misdemeanor and can have the following penalties:

  • Imprisonment: The court can sentence you to up to a year in jail.
  • Fine: The court can fine you up to $3,000.
  • Other: The prosecutor and police may choose to seize the vehicle you drove during your recent DWI, but a DWI lawyer can challenge this.

Third-Degree DWI Penalties

A third-degree DWI in Minneapolis is categorized as a gross misdemeanor. This charge can come with:

  • Imprisonment: The court can sentence you to up to a year in jail.
  • Fine: The court can fine you up to $3,000.
  • Other: Not Applicable

Fourth-Degree DWI Penalties

A fourth-degree DWI in Minneapolis is categorized as a misdemeanor, and this charge can come with the following penalties:

  • Imprisonment: The court can sentence you to up to 90 days in jail.
  • Fine: The court can fine you up to $1,000.
  • Other: Not Applicable

General Minneapolis DWI Penalties

Your penalty’s severity is often based on details such as prior offenses and the existence of any mitigating factors. Statutes that explain the finer points of these penalties include: 

A skilled Minneapolis DUI lawyer can help you understand which penalties you could face and help you plan a solid defense.

How Does a DWI Differ From a DUI in Minneapolis?

A DUI is the same as a DWI in Minneapolis. Both terms refer to operating a vehicle while intoxicated. The law has changed the terminology several times over the years. First, the crime was called “driving while intoxicated,” then “driving under the influence,” and now it is “driving while impaired.”

How Can a Minneapolis DWI Lawyer Help Your Case?

If you have recently been charged with a DWI, a knowledgeable lawyer can get the court to reduce your charges and penalties. They will research your case thoroughly to uncover mitigating factors that may help persuade the court to lessen your charges and penalties. 

A lawyer is even more critical if you have received more serious charges, such as a felony or gross misdemeanor. In some cases, a savvy lawyer can even get your felony charge reduced. Reducing a felony charge can have a tremendously positive impact on the rest of your life.

Contact an Experienced Minneapolis DWI Lawyer

Contact a Minneapolis DWI lawyer today if you have recently been charged with a DWI. The DWI lawyers at Milavetz Law, P.A. have nine offices in convenient locations throughout Minneapolis and the Twin Cities.

Our legal team is well-equipped to lead you through the legal system and fight for your rights. We understand that people make mistakes. Your lawyer will listen carefully to your side of the story and leave no stone unturned to provide you with the most robust defense possible. We want to help you return to normal life as quickly as possible. 

Contact us today for your free consultation, where we can answer your questions and offer insightful legal advice and an honest evaluation of your case.

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