If you compare our current DWI laws with statutes from past eras, you will find that they were once quite lenient. Once, you might have received a slap on the wrist if convicted of DWI in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota. However, a conviction in the 21st century will likely lead to jail time and costly fines.
Whether facing your first or fifth DWI, it is always vital to seek out current information. State laws, including criminal penalties, can change quickly, leaving you unprepared to mount an effective DWI defense.
A tiered approach
Minnesota’s legal language makes it relatively easy for those arrested for DWI to understand the possible consequences of a conviction. To broaden your knowledge, below are four common Minnesota DWI offenses and their typical sentences.
- Fourth-degree DWI charges. As the least consequential DWI charge, this is a misdemeanor typically resulting in a fine and (up to) 90 days of jail time. Defendants face this charge if this is their first DWI and no aggravating factors (prior DWI convictions, etc.) exist.
- Third-degree DWI charges. A gross misdemeanor, this offense is punishable by up to one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. You can face gross charges by refusing a sobriety test, and there exists one aggravating factor.
- Second-degree DWI charges. Second-degree charges are also gross misdemeanors, and convictions usually mean a year or less of jail time and a $3,000 fine. Such charges occur with test refusal plus one aggravating factor or test compliance and two aggravating factors.
- First-degree DWI charges. The most severe offense, this is a felony and typically results in a $14,000 fine and up to seven years in prison. Defendants with several other DWI driving incidents or felony DWI convictions usually face this charge.
A solid DWI defense can help you overcome your situation or at least have your charges reduced. Learning more about the specific charges against you may also improve your situation.