What is the difference between a DUI and a DWI?
“DUI” stands for “Driving Under the Influence,” which is a charge looking at your ability to safely operate your vehicle because you consumed drugs or alcohol. DWI is “Driving While Intoxicated,” which means that the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit of 0.08%. Because these charges are closely related, nearly all drunk drivers are charged with both DUI and DWI charges. You will not have to plead to two charges.
It’s my first DWI. Why is it a Gross Misdemeanor?
If you had a test reading of .16 or above, it is now a gross misdemeanor. If you had a child in the car, it is a gross misdemeanor. The law calls these “enhancing factors.”
If I am being charged with DWI, will I go to jail?
Jail is possible, but it does not have to happen. An experienced Minnesota DWI attorney can avoid maximum penalties, mandatory jail and may be able to avoid jail time altogether. Because the circumstances surrounding each case are different and punishments vary with respect to whether the crime is a first or subsequent offense, getting a lawyer is in the best interests of those facing charges.
What penalties do DWI offenders face in Minnesota?
Penalties vary depending on the nature of the offense, the test result and whether the DWI is a first or subsequent offense.
Without any aggravating factors, a fourth-degree DWI is a misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail and/or a fine of $1,000. DWI with one aggravating factor indicates a third-degree gross misdemeanor charge, with penalties including one year in jail and a fine of $3,000. DWI with two aggravating factors is charged as a second-degree gross misdemeanor, also punishable by one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. The most serious DWI charge is a first-degree felony (fourth offense), which comes with a prison sentence of seven years and/or a fine of $14,000.
Aggravating factors include prior DWI convictions within the past 10 years, a BAC in excess of 0.16%, and having a child age 16 years or under present in the vehicle at the time of the DWI arrest.
What are the penalties if I am under 21?
Minnesota has a “not a drop” policy when it comes to underage drinking and driving. Underage drivers facing charges will have the cases tried in adult court and are looking at adult penalties (except incarceration in adult facilities). A conviction would be part of the driver’s adult record.
Is a conviction guaranteed if I failed a chemical test?
Just because a test shows the presence of alcohol, it does not necessarily mean that you were legally intoxicated at the time you were driving, meaning that a conviction is not certain. Blood, breath, and urine tests are not always reliable, as there are many factors that can skew results. Your attorney should look at: the calibration of the Datamaster, the record keeping, the documentation, or was the sample contaminated by poor handling and storage? For your defense, the Law Office of Jennifer Pradt may be able to challenge the results of your test and may be able to have your charges reduced or dismissed.
Can I fight my DWI charges on my own?
If you are facing DWI charges in Minnesota, it is in your best interests to hire an attorney with extensive experience handling DWI cases. With your freedom, license, vehicle ownership, and reputation on the line, it is not worth it to risk a conviction by attempting to fight your charges on your own. You would never perform surgery on yourself if you were ill. DWI attorneys and the team at The Law Office of Jennifer Pradt are ready to fight your charges. Call 651-235-6280 to discuss your case.