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Minnesota First Offense DWI Laws

Minnesota DWI

Being arrested on a first offense DWI charge in Minnesota can be an overwhelming experience. A first offense arrest is going to trigger two separate proceedings. The first is the criminal charge of driving while intoxicated, this will be handled through the Minnesota criminal court system. The second proceeding you will be faced with is the administrative actions that will be taken by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety against your driving privileges.

If your blood alcohol concentration is greater than .08%, or you refused to submit to a chemical test, the arresting officer will confiscate and revoke your driver's license immediately. If this happens the arresting officer will issue you what is called a "Notice of Revocation", and a temporary permit that will allow you to drive for a further 7 days.

Minnesota DWI First Offense Penalties

In the majority of first offense cases, the charge will be classified as a Misdemeanor offense, or a Fourth Degree DWI charge, which is the minimum offense level. The maximum possible punishment for a Misdemeanor charge is up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 plus all court costs, and a driver's license revocation of 90 days.

Following your revocation period you will be required to file an SR22 insurance filing with the DPS before they will reinstate your driver's license. You can obtain an SR22 insurance policy and filing by entering your zip code below and completing the short form on the following page:

Get a Minnesota SR22 Insurance Quote & Filing Now!
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It should be noted that in a Misdemeanor case the Judge may defer all or some of the jail sentence in lieu of community service or a combination of both. The Judge may also require the defendant to attend an approved Minnesota alcohol assessment program.

Aggravating Factors

A first offense charge can be heightened if there are any one or more of the following Aggravating factors involved:

  1. The defendant has a prior DWI charge within the previous 10 year period.
  2. The defendant's blood alcohol concentration level was .20% or greater at the time of arrest.
  3. If a child under the age of 16 was in the vehicle at the time of arrest. Or a child who is more than 36 months younger than the driver.

If the offense involves one of the above Aggravating factors, the DWI will be classified as a 3rd Degree offense, which is a Gross Misdemeanor offense. If the offense involves two of the above Aggravating factors, the DWI will be classified as a 2nd Degree offense, which is also a Gross Misdemeanor charge.

For a DWI offense to be classified as a Felony 1st Degree DWI, the driver must have been convicted of 3 or more prior DWI convictions within the previous 10 year period.

Minnesota Drivers License Hearing

In order to avoid the pending 90 day revocation of your driver's license it is extremely important that you, or preferably your lawyer contact the Minnesota DPS hearing office to schedule your administrative license hearing. If you fail to request an administrative hearing within 30 days of your license being revoked, you will not be granted one and will have to wait out the remainder of your revocation period before having your license reinstated.

The purpose of the administrative hearing will be for the hearing officer to determine whether or not the arresting officer:

  1. Followed the proper procedures during the arrest.
  2. Whether or not you refused to submit to a chemical test.
  3. If you did submit to a chemical test, was your BAC .08% or greater.

The hearing officer will also hear testimony from the arresting officer along with testimony from you and your attorney. It is important to note that the administrative hearing presents an excellent opportunity for your attorney to cross examine the officer regarding the arrest and look for possible weaknesses in the case against you that he can exploit in court in your defense.

Minnesota SR22 Insurance Information & Quotes

Once your revocation period is over, or before the DPS will issue you a limited license during your revocation period you will be required to complete an SR22 filing with the DPS prior to being grant a limited license or having your license reinstated following the revocation period.

The Minnesota DPS will require you to maintain your SR22 filing with the Department for a period of 3-years following the reinstatement of your driver's license. It is important to note that if at anytime during your required 3-year filing period if you cancel or fail to maintain your SR22 insurance coverage and filing, the DPS will cancel your license and send you a letter informing of the cancellation.

If you experience a lapse in qualified SR22 filing coverage you will need to have your insurance provider file another SR22 form with the DPS once you bring your premiums up to current. The DPS will also require you to pay another reinstatement fee before issuing you another license. The DPS may also start your 3-year filing period from the start.

To avoid a lapse in coverage it is important to select a Minnesota SR22 insurance policy with the lowest possible premium from the start. We have created a competitive quoting environment with the top SR22 insurance providers in the state of Minnesota. By entering your zip code in the box below and completing the simple 3-part quote form on the following page you will receive up to 5 very competitive SR22 insurance quotes from the top insurance companies in your area of the state that offer SR22 filings:

Get a Minnesota SR22 Insurance Quote & Filing Now!
Zip Code:

Other Minnesota DWI Resources

  • Minnesota DWI Laws - A complete overview of Minnesota DWI laws including fines, jail time and penalties for each offense.

  • Minnesota SR22 Insurance - Learn everything you need to know about Minnesota SR22 filing requirements with the DMV and find out how you can save hundreds of dollars each year on your Minnesota SR22 insurance.

  • Minnesota DWI Lawyers - Contact one of our Minnesota DWI lawyers today.

  • Minnesota Alcohol Assessment Programs - We offer a comprehensive listing of Minnesota approved alcohol assessment programs for DWI offenders.