DWI Penalties

Being charged with a DWI can be a stressful and confusing experience. It is disruptive to your life and to the life of your family because the penalties can be rather harsh. How harsh depends upon the severity of the offense, the driver’s age, and if any previous factors exist. These are just some of the factors that determine the penalty.

DUI/DWI cases can be rather complicated, which is why it is important to have a Minneapolis DWI lawyer by your side, representing you throughout the entire process. You do not want to face the charges alone even if you are guilty because that could mean paying the maximum penalty when you don’t have to. Your attorney can have your charges reduced or completely dismissed. This is why it is important to not admit any guilt at the time of the arrest or any time during the process.

The Penalties


The penalties will vary from person-to-person. The following outlines the penalties based on the number of previous offenses:

  • First Offense – For drivers over 21, the first offense is a misdemeanor if the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was below .16. The jail sentence could be as long as 90 days with a fine of up to $1,000. If the BAC is .16 or more, or a child was in the car, then the offense is a gross misdemeanor. If charged with a gross misdemeanor, the fine can be up to $3,000 and the jail time could be as long as a year.
  • Second Offense – The jail sentence is usually 30 days and the crime is considered a gross misdemeanor with up to one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. License plates and driver’s license are typically revoked and other penalties may be imposed based upon any additional factors present at the time of arrest, such as a minor in the car.
  • Third Offense – The jail sentence is typically 90 days, the driver’s license is lost, the vehicle is impounded, and the fine is even higher. The defendant may then be monitored until their court date to ensure no alcohol is consumed between the time of arrest and court. If convicted, then alcohol monitoring will be continued.
  • Fourth Offense – The most severe is the fourth offense with up to 3 years in jail and $14,000 in fines. This is a felony offense that will result in loss of license, electronic monitoring, probation, community service, rehabilitation, and much more.

If a driver under the age of 21 is convicted of DWI, according to “Vanessa’s Law,” fees must be paid before having their license returned to them after the suspension period, a driver education course must be completed, and a permit must be held for at least 3 months. If under 18, a permit may not be received until the age of 18. As a matter of fact, no driver under the age of 21 is to show a single drop of alcohol in their system. This is called the “Not a Drop Law.” However, there are times that this can be challenged and a Minneapolis DWI attorney will be needed to do it.


Contact A DWI Attorney Minneapolis


If you or a loved one has been arrested for DWI, the penalties could affect the rest of your life. This is why you need an aggressive, caring, and competent attorney who contains the necessary experience to make the law work in your favor. You need a strategic defense built for you so that you can go on with your life. To help you move forward, call the DWI Guys of Meaney & Patrin at 612-223-7409 and schedule your free consultation. Doing so could result in a much better outcome in your case.