Minnesota DWI Offenses
In Minnesota, DWI offenses range from misdemeanor Fourth Degree DWI to felony First Degree DWI. In addition, drivers who cause injury to others and who are alleged to be impaired may be charged with Criminal Vehicular Operation as a gross misdemeanor or felony.
Minnesota's DWI offenses are as follows:
Criminal Vehicular Operation
DWI offense levels are determined by the number of DWI incidents a person has within a 10-year period and by the presence of three additional aggravating factors. The three additional aggravating factors are:
1. Having a blood, urine, or DataMaster breath test of 0.16 or more;
2. Refusing to submit to chemical testing after being arrested and read the Minnesota Motor Vehicle Implied Consent; and
3. Having a child under age 16 in the vehicle at the time of the incident.
Failing or refusing the roadside preliminary breath test (PBT) does not influence the aggravating factors. The official chemical test is not the roadside PBT. Thus, testing 0.16 or more in a PBT or refusing the PBT are not aggravating factors because the PBT is simply a preliminary test used to determined probable cause for arrest.
Mandatory minimum sentencing is determined by how many DWI incidents a person has within 10 years of the current offense. A DWI offense is enhanced to a more serious offense if the driver has a prior DWI conviction or DWI license revocation within 10 years of the new offense.
Below is a summary of Minnesota's mandatory minimum sentencing in DWI cases committed within 10 years:
First Offense: No mandatory jail time to serve.
Second Offense: 30-day minimum sentence to serve.
Third Offense: 90-day minimum sentence to serve.
Fourth Offense: 180-day minimum sentence to serve.
Fifth Offense: 365-day minimum sentence to serve; however, Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines call for a presumptive prison sentence if the offender has been convicted previously of felony DWI or felony Criminal Vehicular Operation. The presumptive prison sentence is at least 42 months.