In Minnesota, the punishment for a DWI conviction can vary significantly depending on the situation. For example, a DWI defendant with multiple previous charges could face harsher consequences.
It can be beneficial to understand the guidelines that Minnesota courts use for DWI cases.
A first-time DWI offender in Minnesota typically receives a misdemeanor conviction, with a fine of less than $1000, a suspended license, and a sentence lasting up to 30 days. In some cases, judges mandate substance abuse counseling and community service hours instead of jail time. Additional factors, including passengers under age 16 or a blood alcohol concentration above .16% can result in further penalties.
Multiple DWI convictions
If a DWI defendant has a prior impaired driving conviction within the past ten years, the consequences are more severe. For example, fines can be as high as $3000. Additionally, a second DWI can lead to a year-long license suspension and a sentence between thirty days and a year, which may include both jail time and house arrest.
A third DWI conviction generally results in at least 30 days in jail with up to a year of house arrest and community service in addition to increased fines. Finally, four or more DWI charges can lead to a felony conviction and up to $14,000 in fines. DWI felons might have to serve between three and seven years in prison, as well as several years of probation and mandatory substance abuse treatment.
Minnesota law contains guidelines for punishment that become increasingly severe after multiple DWI convictions.