Unwavering Advocacy In Criminal Defense

DWI in Minnesota: Answers to Questions Most Commonly Asked

At The Law Office of Jennifer L. Pradt, protecting your rights is job No.1. You may have unanswered questions about your DWI and wonder how this charge will affect your life. Know your options.

Jennifer Pradt offers personal representation to protect you. DO NOT think law enforcement, the prosecutor, or the judge  will look out for your interests. Instead, enlist the help of an attorney who knows how to protect your future. Call 651-243-7030 for a free consultation and find out how she can help.

What is the difference between a DUI and a DWI?

“DUI” stands for “driving under the influence,” which is a charge looking at your ability to safely operate your vehicle because you consumed drugs or alcohol. DWI is “driving while intoxicated,” which means that the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit of 0.08%. Because these charges are closely related, nearly all drunk drivers are charged with both DUI and DWI charges. You will not have to plead to two charges.

It’s my first DWI. Why is it a gross misdemeanor?

If you had a test reading of 0.16 or above, it is now a gross misdemeanor. If you had a child in the car, it is a gross misdemeanor. The law calls these “enhancing factors.”

If I am being charged with DWI, will I go to jail?

Jail is possible, but it does not have to happen. An experienced DWI attorney can avoid maximum penalties, mandatory jail and may be able to avoid jail time altogether. The circumstances surrounding each case are different and punishments vary with respect to whether the crime is a first or subsequent offense, getting a lawyer is critical.

What penalties do DWI offenders face in Minnesota?

Penalties vary depending on the nature of the offense, the test result and whether the DWI is a first or subsequent offense.

  • Without any aggravating factors, a fourth-degree DWI is a misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail (most suspended) and/or a fine of $1,000.
  • DWI with one aggravating factor indicates a third-degree gross misdemeanor charge, with penalties including up to one year in jail and a fine of $3,000.
  • DWI with two aggravating factors is charged as a second-degree gross misdemeanor, also punishable by one year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
  • The most serious DWI charge is a first-degree felony (fourth offense), which comes with a prison sentence of seven years and/or a fine of $14,000.

Aggravating factors include prior DWI convictions within the past 10 years, a BAC in excess of 0.16% and having a child aged 16 years or under present in the vehicle at the time of the DWI arrest.

What are the penalties if I am under 21?

Minnesota has a “not a drop” policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. Underage drivers facing charges will have the cases tried in adult court and are looking at adult penalties (except incarceration in adult facilities). A conviction would be part of the driver’s adult record.

Is a conviction guaranteed if I failed a chemical test?

Just because a test shows the presence of alcohol, it does not necessarily mean that you were legally intoxicated at the time you were driving. Many factors can skew  the results of breath, blood, and urine tests.  Your attorney should look at: the calibration of the DataMaster, record keeping, the documentation, and  contamination of the sample.  For your defense, attorney Jennifer Pradt may be able to challenge the results of your test and may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed.

Can I fight my DWI charges on my own?

If you are facing DWI charges in Minnesota, it is in your best interests to hire an attorney with extensive experience handling DWI cases. With your freedom, license, vehicle ownership and reputation on the line, it is not worth it to risk a conviction by attempting to fight your charges on your own. You would never perform surgery on yourself if you were ill.

Get the DWI Guidance You Need Right Now

Attorney Jennifer Pradt is ready to fight your charges. Call 651-243-7030 to discuss your case with an attorney who offers fierce, compassionate defense. Call her now at 651-243-7030. Jennifer Pradt serves clients facing DWI and related charges throughout the Twin Cities metro area. If your matter is not urgent or you simply have a question about her legal services, you can send a message via the online contact form.