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dui vs dwi mn

Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorneys Assisting Clients with DUI and DWI Cases

If you were charged with DUI or DWI in Minnesota, you must understand the severity of the charges you are facing and the difference between DUI and DWI. 

In some states, there is a distinction between a DUI and a DWI for legal purposes. However, a DWI—or driving while impaired—is the charge that most people will face for drunk or drugged driving in Minnesota. A Minnesota DUI defense attorney can get started on your case.

History of DUI and DWI Laws in Minnesota

What’s the difference between a DUI and DWI in Minnesota? There is no difference—a person charged with drunk, drugged, or intoxicated driving will face DWI charges.

Over the years, Minnesota criminal law charged drivers with the crimes of “driving while intoxicated” and later “driving under the influence.” Since 2001, anyone charged with one of these offenses will face charges for “driving while impaired” or DWI.

Understanding Minnesota’s DWI Law

Under Minnesota law, a person can face DWI charges if that person violated the state’s DWI law. The law states that it is unlawful to “drive, operate, or be in physical control of any motor vehicle anywhere in the state” while one of the following is true of the driver:

  • The driver is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or any intoxicating substance;
  • The driver has an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher (the standard for DWI charges in most states);
  • The driver has any amount of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance other than marijuana in his or her body; or
  • The driver is driving a commercial vehicle and has an alcohol concentration of 0.04 or higher.

It is also unlawful to refuse to submit to a chemical test if law enforcement stops you on suspicion of a DWI.

Consequences for DUI and DWI Convictions in Minnesota

The consequences of a DUI/DWI conviction depend on a variety of factors. The following are examples of consequences for a DWI conviction:

  • First offense under 0.16 alcohol concentration: Misdemeanor that can result in 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000, and a license suspension for up to 90 days;
  • First offense with 0.16 alcohol concentration or higher: Gross misdemeanor that can result in up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $3,000, a license suspension for up to 1 year, license plates impounded, and the possibility of a required ignition interlock device;
  • Second offense in 10 year period under 0.16 alcohol concentration: Gross misdemeanor that can result in up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $3,000, a license suspension for up to 1 year, license plates impounded, and the possibility of a 30 day mandatory jail sentence and the possibility of a required ignition interlock device;
  • Second offense in 10 year period with 0.16 alcohol concentration or higher: Gross misdemeanor that can result in up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $3,000, a license suspension for up to 2 years, license plates impounded, vehicle forfeited, the possibility of a 30 day mandatory jail sentence, and required ignition interlock device;
  • Third offense in 10 year period: Gross misdemeanor with penalties of up to 1 year in jail, a fine of up to $3,000, the possibility of a mandatory 90-day jail sentence, license canceled, license plate impounded, and vehicle forfeited; and
  • Fourth or more offense in 10 year period: Felony offense that can result in up to 7 years in prison, a fine of up to $14,000, license cancellation, license plate impounded, and vehicle forfeited.

Contact a Criminal Defense Lawyer in Minnesota

Do you need help defending against DUI or DWI charges? A Minnesota DWI defense attorney can assist you. 

Contact Arechigo & Stokka today for more information.

Author Photo

Joshua R. Stokka

Josh has been representing injured workers for over 10 years. After his first job during law school working for a workers’ compensation attorney, he decided that workers’ compensation is what he eventually wanted to do after law school. Prior to practicing in the area of workers’ compensation, Josh clerked for a judge in the 7th Judicial District in Minnesota. This valuable experience gave him insight into how judges think, do their jobs behind the scene, and how to frame a case in order to obtain a favorable result.  Now, he focuses 100% of his practice to defending injured workers’ in Minnesota.

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