Drivers who have previously been convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) frequently re-offend. The threat of stiffer penalties, including mandatory jail time, license loss, vehicle forfeiture, and other non-criminal sanctions appear to have very little deterrent effect. Drivers with previous DWI convictions must be aware of the increased penalties for subsequent offenses and avoid driving while intoxicated with prior qualifying offenses.
The recidivism rate for DWI is high in Minnesota. A 2013 report analyzing DWI statistics in Minnesota issued by the director of Minnesota’s Office of Traffic Safety concluded that repeat offenders comprised 40% of all DWI arrests. According to that report, 10,455 drivers out of 25,719 DWI arrests in 2013 were repeat offenders. Overall, one out of every 7 licensed drivers in Minnesota have a DWI on their criminal record. Furthermore, one out of every 16 licensed drivers in Minnesota have two or more DWI incidents on their record and one out of every 35 have three of more DWIs on their record. The state average is significantly higher than the national trend. Nationally, repeat offenders account for 33% of all DWI arrests annually, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Minnesota’s criminal laws impose more severe sanctions on repeat offenders. Driving while impaired as a first offense without any aggravating factors is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum 90 jail sentence, a $1,000 fine, and 90 day loss of driving privileges or ignition interlock for 90 days. The criminal sanctions increase when someone who has a prior impaired driving conviction or impaired driving license loss. A conviction for a second violation of driving while impaired within 10 years of a “qualified prior impaired driving incident,” imposes a mandatory 30 jail sentence (at least 48 hours of which must be spent in jail) with a maximum of 90 days commitment. As an alternative, the judge may impose 8 hours of community serve for every day less than 30 not spent in confinement, with a minimum of 80 hours. The state will revoke driving privileges for one year or impose driving with an ignition interlock device and impound the driver’s license plates. An arrest for DWI with two qualified prior impaired driving incidents within 10 years of the date of arrest is a gross misdemeanor. The minimum jail sentence for a third offense is 90 days, 30 of which must be served consecutively. The sentencing judge may order intensive treatment with six days in jail in lieu of the mandatory jail sentence. The judge may order that no more than 60 days be spent in home confinement or in treatment; however, the judge has no authority to sentence otherwise and the sentence must be executed. A conviction for a third offense will result in driver’s license cancellation, impounded plates, and mandatory ignition interlock device.
An arrest for DWI with three qualified prior impaired driving incidents is a felony. A conviction upon this charge will result in a minimum 180 day, incarceration with 30 days to serve consecutively or the judge sentences the convict to an intensive rehabilitation facility, with six days to serve consecutively. Alternatively, a judge may sentence a convicted driver to 180 days staggered incarceration with 30 days to serve consecutively. The maximum penalty is 7 years in prison with 5 years mandatory supervised release. The driver’s license will be cancelled and a 4 to 6 year ignition interlock requirement. A conviction for a fifth or subsequent offense compels the judge to impose a one year jail sentence, with 60 days to serve consecutively, an intensive treatment program with six consecutive days in jail, a staggered one year jail sentence with 60 days to serve consecutively. A judge may also impose electronic monitoring or home confinement if electronic monitoring is unavailable.
Call the Kans Law Firm, LLC Today to Receive the Legal Help You Deserve
Top Rated Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney Doug Kans is a former prosecutor who has a tremendous amount of experience defending repeat DWI offenders. His law firm has been defending and litigating alcohol related offenses for over 20 years. As such, Mr. Kans will review your case, advise you of your rights, and immediately begin crafting a defense to avoid minimum mandatory jail time. Call the Kans Law Firm, LLC today at (952) 835-6314 and put attorney Doug Kans to work for you.