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DWI repeat offenders can face more severe penalties

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Criminal Defense

A driving while impaired (DWI) charge in Minnesota is meant to help teach offenders a lesson that drunk driving is dangerous for themselves and other motorists and pedestrians. This is why the charge comes with stiff fines, prison sentences and license suspensions.

But what happens to repeat offenders? Under Minnesota law, those who get subsequent DWI charges within a certain time frame get heavier penalties.

Penalties for repeat DWI offenses

If a court convicts them, DWI repeat offenders will face the following mandatory minimum criminal penalties for committing another offense within ten years:

  • Second offense within ten years: A 30-day incarceration period, of which at least 48 hours must be served in a jail or workhouse. The offender might also have to render eight hours of community work for each day of incarceration missed.
  • Third offense within ten years: 90-day incarceration period, with a requirement to spend at least 30 of those days consecutively in jail or a workhouse.
  • Fourth offense within ten years: 180-day incarceration period, with a requirement to spend at least 30 of those days consecutively in jail or a workhouse.
  • Fifth offense within ten years: A whole year of incarceration. The convicted must also spend at least 60 of those days consecutively in jail or a workhouse.

A court may require the driver to spend the remainder of the mandatory minimum sentence under remote electronic alcohol monitoring or on home detention. A court can also administer these punishments on top of any fines and license suspension penalties levied against the driver related to their DWI charge.

It should also be noted that unlike some U.S. states that don’t immediately revoke the licenses of drivers charged with drunk driving, Minnesota revokes offenders’ licenses even for their first offense.

Whether you’re facing your first or a subsequent DWI charge, you can challenge it in court to reduce your penalties. You have a right to a fair trial even if you’re a repeat offender. Consider consulting with an attorney who can help you build your defense and represent you in court.

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