Different Levels of Driving While Impaired (DWI)
Previously, I wrote about the different offense levels in the state of Minnesota (Petty Misdemeanor, Misdemeanor, Gross Misdemeanor, and Felony). Many clients ask about the different levels of offenses regarding DWI violations. The bottom line is that the Minnesota DWI laws are very complicated, and I would encourage you to hire a lawyer to help navigate you through this difficult process. Here is a brief and basic breakdown:
4th Degree DWI Minnesota Statute – This is a misdemeanor offense and is the least severe level of DWI. This is usually given to first-time offenders who do not possess any aggravating factors. 4th Degree DWI Minnesota Statute
3rd Degree DWI Minnesota Statute – This is a gross misdemeanor offense. This offense is charged when one aggravating factor is present. The definition of “aggravating factor” is below. 3rd Degree DWI Minnesota Statute
2nd Degree DWI Minnesota Statute – This is a gross misdemeanor offense. This offense is charged when two or more aggravating factors are present. 2nd Degree DWI Minnesota Statute
1st Degree DWI – This is a felony offense. This statute is more complicated than the previous three references. If you have specific questions I encourage you to follow the hyperlink. A person is charged with a 1st Degree DWI if the person: (1) commits the violation within ten years of the first of three or more qualified prior impaired driving incidents; (2) has previously been convicted of a felony DWI; or (3) has previously been convicted of a felony under the statutes referenced in the following hyperlink. 1st Degree DWI Minnesota Statute
1st Degree DWI Minnesota Statute – “Aggravating Factor” includes: (1) a qualified prior impaired driving incident within the ten years immediately preceding the current offense; (2) having an alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more as measured at the time, or within two hours of the time, of the offense; or (3) having a child under the age of 16 in the motor vehicle at the time of the offense if the child is more than 36 months younger than the offender. Statutory Definition Minn. Stat. 169A.03 Subd.