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Minnesota DWI Laws & Penalties

Per Minnesota DWI law chapter 169A; it is unlawful for any person to operate a motor vehicle while their ability is impaired due to the consumption of alcohol, drugs or an intoxicant with a blood alcohol concentration of .08% or greater.  It is not necessary for a person stopped on suspicion of DWI to show signs of impairment, if that person's BAC level is .08% or greater, they are in violation of Minnesota's 'per se' law and will be arrested for driving while impaired.

A person may still be arrested and charged with driving while impaired even if their blood alcohol concentration is less than .08% just by displaying signs or behavior consistent with impairment or by failing any part of the field sobriety tests (if submitted to).

Upon being arrested for DWI in Minnesota, the arresting officer will confiscate your driver's license, issue you a notice of suspension/revocation and forward your license along with any evidence that has been collected against you to the Department of Public Safety & Driver Services for an Administrative Review of License Revocation.  The arresting officer will also issue you a temporary license that will allow you to drive for 7 days following the arrest before the revocation period will begin.

Minnesota First Offense DWI

A Minnesota first offense DWI is classified as a misdemeanor offense as long as you have not been convicted of three or more DWI violations within the past 10-years, or have not previously been convicted of a felony DWI offense.  A first offense DWI charge carries the following penalties:

Jail time:  A first offense conviction will result in jail time of up to 90 days as long as your BAC was less than .20% within 2 hours of being stopped.  A BAC level of .20% or greater is classified as a Gross Misdemeanor and can result in up to 1-year of jail time.  The court may impose jail time in lieu of all or some of the fine amount.

Fines:  The fines for a first offense are $1,000 plus court costs as long as your BAC was less than .20% within 2 hours of being stopped.  If your BAC level was .02% or greater the offense is classified as a Gross Misdemeanor and can result in fines of up to $3,000 plus court costs.  The court may impose fines in lieu of all or some of the jail time.

License Revocation:  First time offenders who's BAC level was below .20% will have their license revoked for 90 days. The 90 day revocation can be reduced to 30 days if you plead guilty to the charge of DWI.  First time offenders who's BAC level was .20% or greater will have their license revoked for 180 days.  If you refused to submit to a chemical test, your license will be revoked for 1-year.

First time offenders may be eligible for a Minnesota limited license if they meet certain requirements.  You must prove a need for the license to get to and from work and you must prove that you have no other means of transportation like taking public transportation to get to and from work.

If you are approved for a limited license, it will allow you to drive to and from work only.  You will not be allowed to drive to any other destinations on a limited license.  That means you cannot even take a detour to the grocery store on your way home from work. Straight to work and straight home only.

If your BAC level was below .20% or if you refused a chemical test, you will be eligible for a limited license 15 days after the expiration of your 7-day temporary permit.  If your BAC level was .20% or greater you will be eligible for a limited license 30 days after the expiration of your temporary permit.

In order for you to get a limited license or to reinstate your license at the end of your revocation period you will have to pay a license reinstatement fee of $680 plus an $18.50 application fee.  The Minnesota DPS will also required you to complete a DWI knowledge test.  You will also have to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Minnesota SR22 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance coverage requirements.

Get a Minnesota SR22 Insurance Quote & Filing Now!
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Minnesota Second Offense DWI

A Minnesota second offense DWI is classified as a misdemeanor offense and means that you have been convicted of one prior DWI violation within the past 10-years or you have one prior conviction more than 10-years old.  For a second offense to be classified as a misdemeanor offense you must never have been previously convicted of a felony DWI offense.  A second offense DWI charge carries the following penalties:

Jail time:  A second offense conviction can result in up to 1-year in jail.  At the court's discretion they may impose just jail time in lieu of all or some of the fine amount.

Fines:  The fines for a second offense are up to $3,000 plus court costs. At the court's discretion they may impose just jail time in lieu of some or all of the fine amount.

License Revocation:  Second time offenders who's BAC level was below .20% will have their license revoked for 180 days. Second time offenders who's BAC level was .20% or greater will have their license revoked for 1-year.  If you refused to submit to a chemical test, your license will be revoked for 1-year.

If your BAC level was below .20%, you may be eligible for a limited license 90 days after the expiration of your 7-day temporary permit if this was a second offense within the past 10-year period.

If your BAC level was .20% or greater you may be eligible for a limited license 6-months after the expiration of your temporary permit.  If you refused to submit to a chemical test you may be eligible for a limited license 6-months after the expiration of your 7-day temporary permit.

If this is a second offense with one prior conviction more than 10-years old and your BAC was below .20% your license will be revoked for 90 days and you will not be eligible for a limited license during the 90-day revocation period.

If this is a second offense with one prior more than 10-years old and your BAC level was .02% or greater your license will be revoked for 180 days and you will not be eligible for a limited license during the 180-day revocation period.

If this is a second offense with one prior more than 10-years old and you refused a chemical test your license will be revoked for 1-year and you may apply for a limited license after 6-months of the revocation period has lapsed.

Second time offenders may be eligible for a Minnesota limited license if they meet certain requirements.  You must prove a need for the license to get to and from work and you must prove that you have no other means of transportation like taking public transportation to get to and from work.

If you are approved for a limited license, it will allow you to drive to and from work only.  You will not be allowed to drive to any other destinations on a limited license.  That means you cannot even take a detour to the grocery store on your way home from work. Straight to work and straight home only.

In order for you to get a limited license or to reinstate your license at the end of your revocation period you will have to pay a license reinstatement fee of $680 plus an $18.50 application fee.  The Minnesota DPS will also required you to complete a DWI knowledge test.  You will also have to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Minnesota SR22 policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance coverage requirements.

Minnesota Third Offense DWI

A Minnesota third offense DWI is classified as a misdemeanor offense and means that you have been convicted of two prior DWI violations within the past 10-years or you have had two prior convictions with one of those convictions being more than 10-years old.  For a third offense to be classified as a misdemeanor offense you must never have been previously convicted of a felony DWI offense.  A third offense DWI charge carries the following penalties:

Jail time:  A third offense conviction can result in up to 1-year in jail.  At the court's discretion they may impose just jail time in lieu of all or some of the fine amount.

Fines:  The fines for a third offense are up to $3,000 plus court costs. At the court's discretion they may impose just jail time in lieu of some or all of the fine amount.

Alcohol Rehab Program:  You will be required to attend and successfully complete a state approved alcohol treatment and rehabilitation program. You will also have to show proof that you have been abstinent for a minimum of 1-year following a third offense within the past 10-year period.

As a requirement of having your license reinstated you will have to abstain from alcohol for the rest of your life in order for your license to remain reinstated.  Failure to abstain from alcohol will result in your license being revoked.

Vehicle Forfeiture:  At the court's discretion you may be required to forfeit your vehicle to the state following a third offense conviction.

License Revocation:  You will loose your license for at least 1-year following a third offense.  You may be eligible for a limited license if you meet the conditions outlined for a limited license and also meet the following requirements:

If you have no prior offenses within the past 10-year period and have not had a "special review" with the Minnesota DPS and your BAC level was below .20% your license will be revoked for 180-days and you may be eligible for a limited license after 90-days of the 180-day revocation period has lapsed.

If you have no prior offenses within the past 10-year period and have not had a "special review" with the Minnesota DPS and your BAC level was .20% or greater your license will be revoked for 1-year and you may be eligible for a limited license after 6-months of the 1-year revocation period has lapsed.

In order for you to get a limited license or to reinstate your license at the end of your revocation period you will have to pay a license reinstatement fee of $680 plus an $18.50 application fee.  The Minnesota DPS will also required you to complete a DWI knowledge test.  You will also have to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a Minnesota SR-22 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance coverage requirements.

Get a Minnesota SR22 Insurance Quote & Filing Now!
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Minnesota Fourth Offense DWI

A Minnesota fourth offense DWI is considered a felony offense if you have a previous offense within the past 10-year period.  A fourth offense DWI charge carries the following penalties:

Jail time:  A fourth offense conviction can result in up to 7-years in prison. The court may grant you a 5-year conditional release.

Fines:  The fines for a fourth offense are up to $14,000 plus court costs. At the court's discretion they may impose just jail time in lieu of some or all of the fine amount.

Alcohol Rehab Program:  You will be required to attend and successfully complete a state approved alcohol treatment and rehabilitation program. You will also have to show proof that you have been abstinent for a minimum of 1-year following a fourth offense within the past 10-year period.

As a requirement of having your license reinstated you will have to abstain from alcohol for the rest of your life in order for your license to remain reinstated.  Failure to abstain from alcohol will result in your license being revoked.

License Revocation:  You will loose your license for at least 4-years following a fourth offense.  You will not be eligible for a limited license.

In order for you to reinstate your license at the end of your revocation period you will have to pay a license reinstatement fee of $680 plus an $18.50 application fee.  The Minnesota DPS will also required you to complete a DWI knowledge test.  You will also have to show proof of financial responsibility in the form of a SR22 insurance policy that meets the states minimum auto insurance coverage requirements.

Minnesota DWI Offenses Under 21 Years of Age

Minnesota has a "zero tolerance" law for drinking and driving for anyone under 21 years of age.  If you are arrested for violating the zero tolerance law while operating a motor vehicle your license will be suspended for 30 days following a first offense violation.  A second offense violation will result in your license being suspended for 180-days.

Driver's under 21 years of age whose BAC level was above the legal limit of .08% will also be facing the same jail time, fines and other penalties that someone over the age of 21 would face for violating Minnesota's DWI laws.

Minnesota CDL DWI

A person operating a commercial motor vehicle in the state of Minnesota while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or an intoxicant with a blood alcohol concentration of .04% or greater or failing to submit to a chemical test will be arrested for DWI.  If this was a first offense violation within the past 10 years your CDL will be revoked for 1-year.

If you were carrying hazardous materials at the time, your CDL will be revoked for 3-years. A second offense violation will result in a permanent CDL revocation, you will never be able to drive or operate a CMV again.  A CMV operator stopped and found to have any measurable amount of alcohol less than .04% in their system will be issued an "out-of-service" notice and will not be allowed to drive for the next 24-hours.

Minnesota SR22 Requirements

Before the Minnesota DPS will reinstate your license following your revocation period or before issuing you a limited license, they will require you to file an SR22 form with them before issuing you a new license. You will be required to carry your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years.

At anytime during this 3-year period if there is a lapse in your Minnesota SR22 insurance coverage, your insurance provider is obligated by law to immediately inform the Minnesota DPS of the lapse.  If a lapse in coverage occurs, the Minnesota DPS will immediately revoke your license and you will be required to re-file an SR22 form with the DPS before they will issue you another license.

Since you are going to have to have your SR22 insurance for a period of 3-years, it is important to find the cheapest policy you can before choosing one.  DUI Process has partnered with the largest and most trusted SR22 insurance provider in the state of Minnesota and has worked out a special discount only available here for our website visitors.

Other Minnesota DWI Resources

  • Minnesota First Offense DWI - First offense information including penalties, fines, potential jail time, license suspension, DWI classes, and much more.

  • Minnesota SR22 Insurance Filing - We have compiled everything you need to know about Minnesota's SR22 insurance and filing requirements including important addresses, phone numbers, etc.

  • Minnesota Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Programs - We offer a complete listing of state approved DWI alcohol & drug abuse programs listed by County.

  • Minnesota Bail Bondsmen - Comprehensive list of Minnesota bail bond agents including address, phone, website, etc.

  • Minnesota DWI Courts - Comprehensive list of Minnesota's criminal courts listed by County.

  • Jails in Minnesota - Comprehensive list of Minnesota's jails and contact information.