How a DWI Can Impact Your Life


There are a multitude of relatively severe punishments for driving under the influence of alcohol, especially if you are under the age of 21 in Minnesota. There is a multitude of hefty punishments and penalties that could impact you, not just for their duration, but for the entirety of your life.

Immediate Consequences of a DWI

Nobody intends to get a DWI. DWIs result from many small decisions that accumulate over one night or a lifetime. But a DWI is a serious offense, one with penalties that can severely impact your life. No matter whether it is a first-offense or a repeated offense, the consequences of getting a DWI are costly, and can inflict long-term damage.

Minnesota prosecutes DWIs using a tiered system. This means that your charge is determined by first looking at whether this particular DWI is your first, second, third, or more than fourth offense. Then, the number of aggravating factors is calculated. These aggravating factors can elevate the level (or “degree”) of your charge. So, for instance, a fourth offense is automatically a first-degree DWI charge, but you could also get a first-degree charge if it was only your second offense but you refused the blood-alcohol test. Aggravating factors include:

Of course, the consequences for each charge vary depending on the severity of the infraction. At the most serious end, the DWI can be felonious, if it was a fourth offense and the individual refused testing. The penalty for such a severe infraction is a fine of up to $14,000 and/or a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 years in jail. At the other end of the spectrum, for a first offense with an individual whose blood alcohol level was under .20, the penalty is a maximum 90 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000.

• Blood alcohol level
• Whether or not you have previously been convicted of substance or homicide-related charges
• Whether you refused blood alcohol level testing
• Whether or not there were minors in the car at the time

It’s important to secure robust legal aid in the process of fighting your charge. Repeat offenses compound, and taking a plea deal if you are underrepresented legally can keep you in a precarious legal position.

Expungement Options for DWI

If temperance has eluded you, there’s still a chance to redeem yourself. Since 2015, certain Minnesota DWI offenses can be expunged from your record. To learn more about your expungement options, simply call 612-382-4545. Don’t let an opportunity to restore your freedoms slip through your fingers. Seek help today.

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