Overview*

In Minnesota, we call it a DWI (“driving while impaired”) where many other places refer to it as a DUI (“driving under the influence”). Whatever you call it, getting one is a big deal. Here are some things to know:

The Law

If your alcohol-concentration level is 0.08 or higher (0.04 in a commercial vehicle) and you are in control of a moving or parked vehicle, you can be arrested for DWI and will be subject to administrative license
sanctions. If a law enforcement officer can prove that alcohol or drugs caused you to commit driving errors, you can also be convicted of DWI at lower alcohol concentrations.

Penalties and Sanctions

Each year in Minnesota, more than 30,000 people are arrested for DWI. Each person may experience unique criminal penalties in addition to administrative license sanctions, depending on the arrest situation, previous driving violations and criminal record.

Ignition Interlock Law

First-time DWI offenders with a 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level and second-time DWI offenders will be required to use ignition interlock or not have driving privileges ranging from one to two years — depending on offense level. DWI offenders with three or more offenses in a 10-year period will be required to use ignition interlock for a period of three to six years — depending on offense level.

Interlock is installed in the vehicle and requires user to provide a breath sample in order to start the vehicle.
The following information is a guideline for penalties and sanctions you may experience if you are arrested for impaired driving. There are additional laws, penalties and sanctions for individuals under 21. These guidelines are based on offenses that occur within a 10-year period.

All alcohol-related loss of driving privileges require a $680 reinstatement fee, DWI knowledge test, driver’s license application with fees, and chemical health assessment.

Other Notes

There are varying levels of penalties – civil and criminal – for your first, second, third, and fourth (or greater) offense that may involve jail time, fines, revocation of driver’s license, and potential ‘administrative forfeiture’ of your car.

Felony DWI

You may be charged with a felony if you:

A fourth offense may result in a loss of license for 4 years and until rehabilitation and other reinstatement requirements are met. The criminal penalties for felony DWI are up to 7 years in prison with a 5-year conditional release to follow and a $14,000 fine.

*This information was compiled from the brochure “DWI Consequences” published by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety