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: There is no minimum jail sentence for a first offense. The maximum is 90 days in jail. Up to 1 year in jail for those with a BAC above .20%.  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.20% or less.  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.
  • Test refusal: A first offense refusal will result in a 1 year license revocation. You'll have the choice between 15 days of no driving and limited driving privilegs for the remainder of the year, or full driving privileges with the use of an ignition interlock for the remainder of the year.
  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock is required if you wish to drive during revocation period. Please see below for options:
    • BAC under .16%: Full driving privileges during 90 day revocation with interlock.
    • BAC under .16% with child in car: Full driving privileges during 90 day revocation with interlock.
    • BAC over .16% and/or child in car: 1 year of restricted driving with interlock.
    • Refusal: Full driving privileges with interlock.
  • License revocation: First time offenders face a 90 day up to 1 year revocation period. You have the following options to get back on the road sooner:
    • BAC under .16%: 15 days of no driving followed by limited driving privileges for the remainder of 90 day revocation period. Or full driving privileges with the installation of an ignition interlock.
    • BAC under .16% with child in car: 15 days of no driving followed by limited driving privileges for the remainder of 90 day revocation period. Or full driving privileges with the installation of an ignition interlock.
    • BAC over .16% and/or child in car: 1 year fully revoked license, or 1 year with a restricted license with the installation of an ignition interlock.
    • Refusal: 15 days of no driving followed by limited driving privileges for the remainder of 1 year revocation period. Or full driving privileges with the installation of an ignition interlock.

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.  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.

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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: The maximum sentence for a second offense is 90 days in jail. Up to 1 year in jail for those with a BAC above .20%.  The court may impose jail time in lieu of all or some of the fine amount.
  • Fines: The fines for a second offense are $1,000 plus court costs as long as your BAC was.20% or less.  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.
  • Test refusal: A second offense refusal will result in a 1 year license revocation. You will be able to driving during the revocation period with the installation of an ignition interlock.
  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock is required if you wish to drive during revocation period. Please see below for options:
    • BAC under .16%: 1 year ignition interlock requirement.
    • BAC under .16% with child in car: 2 years ignition interlock requirement.
    • BAC over .16% and/or child in car: 2 years ignition interlock requirement.
    • Refusal: 1 year ignition interlock requirement.
  • License revocation: Second time offenders face a 1 to 2 year revocation period. You have the following options to get back on the road sooner:
    • BAC under .16%: 1 year with no driving at all. Or 1 year of ignition interlock driving before full reinstatement.
    • BAC under .16% with child in car: 2 years with no driving at all. Or 2 years of ignition interlock driving before full reinstatement.
    • BAC over .16% and/or child in car: 2 years with no driving at all. Or 2 years of ignition interlock driving before full reinstatement.
    • Refusal: 1 year with no driving. Or 1 year of ignition interlock driving before full reinstatement.

In order for you to get your license reinstated at the end of your revocation period you will have to pay a license reinstatement fee of $680 plus an $18.50 application fee.  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.

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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: You face up to 1 year in jail.  The court may impose jail time in lieu of all or some of the fine amount.
  • Fines: The fine amount for a third offense is $3,000.  The court may impose fines in lieu of all or some of the jail time.
  • Alcohol treatment: You must attend a state approved alcohol treatment program.
  • Test refusal: A third offense refusal will result in a 1 year license revocation. You will be able to driving during the revocation period with the installation of an ignition interlock.
  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock is required if you wish to drive during revocation period. Please see requirements below:
    • 1 year of a limited license with an ignition interlock restriction upon enrollment in a treatment program.
    • 2 additional years of an ignition interlock restricted license upon completion of the treatment program.
  • License cancelled: Your driver's license will be cancelled upon a third offense. You must complete 3 years with no detection of alcohol and/or drug use if you wish to have the ignition interlock removed from your vehicle(s) at the end of the 3 year period and to get your driver's license reinstated.

In order for you to get your license reinstated at the end of your cancellation period you will have to pay a license reinstatement fee of $680 plus an $18.50 application fee.  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.

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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.
  • Fines: The fines for a fourth offense are up to $14,000 plus court costs.
  • Alcohol treatment: You must attend a state approved alcohol treatment program.
  • Ignition interlock: An ignition interlock is required if you wish to drive during revocation period. Please see requirements below:
    • 1 year of a limited license with an ignition interlock restriction upon enrollment in a treatment program.
    • 3-5 additional years of an ignition interlock restricted license upon completion of the treatment program.
  • License cancelled: Your driver's license will be cancelled upon a fourth offense. You must complete 4-6 years with no detection of alcohol and/or drug use if you wish to have the ignition interlock removed from your vehicle(s) at the end of the 4-6 year period and to get your driver's license reinstated.

In order for you to get your license reinstated at the end of your cancellation period you will have to pay a license reinstatement fee of $680 plus an $18.50 application fee.  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.

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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.

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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.