It is illegal to operate a motorized vehicle in the state of Minnesota if you are under the influence of alcohol and unable to safely operate your vehicle, you are under the influence of a hazardous substance that affects your nervous system, brain, or muscles which substantially impairs your ability to operate the motor vehicle, you are operating the motorized vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, your are operating a commercial vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.04% or higher or you are operating a motorized vehicle under the influence of any controlled substance (listed in schedule I or II, or its metabolite, other than marijuana).
Arrested for DWI – What happens to my driver’s license?
If you are arrested for DWI you may face criminal as well as civil penalties enforced by the Department of Public Safety. Drivers who are arrested for DWI have given their implied consent, under Minnesota’s Implied Consent Laws, to submit to a chemical test. Drivers who refuse the test may face a one year license suspension. Drivers who take the chemical test, but who have a BAC over the legal limit of 0.08%, may have their license suspended for 90 days.
Keep in mind, these administrative DWI penalties are in addition to criminal penalties you may be assessed and can be enforced even if you are ultimately found not guilty of DWI.
What happens after a DWI arrest?
If you refuse the chemical test or you fail the chemical test the police officer may confiscate your license and complete the Notice and Order of Revocation. This form is forwarded to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. Drivers have the legal right to challenge the revocation by requesting an implied consent hearing. If you do not request the hearing your license is automatically suspended by the DPS.
How do I request an Implied Consent Hearing?
To request a hearing you must make a formal written request and present it to the Commissioner of Public Safety within 30 days from the date of the Minnesota DWI arrest. Requests will not be accepted after the 30 days have expired.
If you decide to request a hearing it is a good idea to consult with a DWI lawyer. Requesting a hearing is no guarantee you will avoid the suspension. In fact, the state has a very low burden of proof. Although state laws may vary, generally the state only has to prove that the officer had probable cause to make the DWI stop, the driver was lawfully arrested, the driver was advised of their rights to refuse the test and the penalties for the test refusal, evidence the driver refused to submit to the test or evidence they failed the test.
If you request a hearing the Clerk of the court will schedule the hearing and send you a notice of your court date.
Convicted of DWI in Minnesota
As mentioned above, if you fail a BAC chemical test or refuse the test you will have your license suspended by the DMV, but there are additional criminal penalties if you are convicted of DWI. For instance, if you have been arrested for the first time you will be charged with a Fourth Degree DWI – Misdemeanor and face the following DWI penalties:
- Fines up to $1,000
- Jail term up to 90 Days
- Reinstatement fees for your license
- Potential installation of an ignition interlock device
- License suspension up to 90 days (longer if you had a high BAC)
- License suspension up to 180 days if you had a minor under 16 in your car at the time of your DWI arrest
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