Minnesota DWI Offenses
In Minnesota, DWI criminal offenses are defined as misdemeanors, gross misdemeanors, and felonies. Fourth Degree DWI is a misdemeanor. Second and Third Degree are gross misdemeanors. First Degree DWI/Test Refusal is a felony. In addition, impaired drivers who cause injury to another may be charged with Criminal Vehicular Operation as a gross misdemeanor or felony, depending on the severity of the injury.
Minnesota’s DWI offenses are as follows:
- Fourth Degree DWI (misdemeanor)
- Third Degree Test Refusal (gross misdemeanor)
- Third Degree DWI (gross misdemeanor)
- Second Degree Test Refusal (gross misdemeanor)
- Second Degree DWI (gross misdemeanor)
- First Degree DWI/Test Refusal (felony)
- Criminal Vehicular Operation (gross misdemeanor or felony)
Criminal DWI offense levels are determined by the number of prior DWI incidents a person has within a 10-year period and by the presence of any three additional aggravating factors. Each prior DWI incident within the 10-year period is an aggravating factor. The other three aggravating factors are:
- Having a blood, urine, or DataMaster breath alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more;
- Refusing to submit to blood, urine, or DataMaster breath test after arrest for suspected DWI; and
- Having a child under age 16 in the vehicle at the time of the DWI incident.
Failing or refusing to take the roadside preliminary breath test (PBT) does not influence the aggravating factors. The official chemical test of intoxication is not the PBT device. Thus, testing 0.16 or more on a PBT device or refusing to take the PBT is not an aggravating factor. The PBT is simply a preliminary screening test used to determine probable cause for arrest.
Mandatory minimum sentencing in Minnesota DWI criminal cases is determined by how many DWI incidents a person has within the 10-year period. A prior DWI conviction or DWI license revocation within 10 years will trigger the following minimum sentences:
- First Offense: No mandatory 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, the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines call for a presumptive commitment to prison for at least 42 months if the person has been previously convicted of felony DWI or felony Criminal Vehicular Operation.