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First Degree DWI

First Degree DWI/DUI is a Felony in the State of Minnesota. The length of sentence imposed depends on the number of prior DUI’s/DWI’s, as well as any other prior felony convictions. If you have been charged with First Degree DWI, it’s important to seek the representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Fighting First-Degree DWI Penalties In Minnesota

A First Degree DUI/DWI will be charged if the following circumstances exist:

  • It is your fourth DUI/DWI within the past 10 years
  • It is your fifth DUI/DWI on record
  • You have a prior felony DUI/DWI conviction on your record.

Mandatory Penalties for First Degree DWI/DUI Conviction

There are mandatory penalties that must be imposed for a First Degree DUI/DWI.

First Felony DWI/DUI

  • This carries a mandatory sentence of 36  months in prison. However, execution of the sentence can be stayed if the following conditions exist:
  • Must serve 180 days. Depending on the county, this time can be served under house arrest or in jail, community service, or a combination of the three. The law requires that 30 days of the 180-day sentence be served in jail.

Second Felony DWI/DUI

  • This carries a mandatory sentence of 48 months in prison.  However, the sentence can be stayed if the following conditions exist:
  • Must serve one year in jail. Depending on the county, the time can be served under house arrest, in jail, through community service, or a combination of the three. The law requires 60 days to be served in a local jail, or 6 days in jail followed by intensive probation for a repeat offender.

Third Felony DWI/DUI

  • This carries a mandatory 48 months in prison.  However, the sentence can be stayed if the following conditions exist:
  • Must serve one year must in jail. Depending on the county, the time can be served under house arrest, in jail, through community service, or a combination of the three. The law requires 60 days to be served in jail, or 6 days followed by intensive probation for repeat offenders.

Fourth or Greater DWI/DUI

  • This carries a mandatory 54 months in prison.

Collateral Consequences

Under Minnesota law, if you are charged with First Degree DWI/DUI, you will face consequences beyond a criminal conviction and license revocation/cancellation

  • License Plate Impoundment. If you are merely arrested for a First Degree DWI/DUI, your license plates will be impounded, and you will be required to install special registration, or “whiskey plates” on every vehicle you own.
  • Vehicle Forfeiture. If you are merely arrested for First Degree DWI/DUI, the vehicle in which you were driving will be seized, with the intent to forfeit.  In other words, the State of Minnesota wants to keep your car, sell it at auction, and keeping the proceeds.  You have the right to challenge that forfeiture, which requires that you file a Petition for Judicial Determination in District Court.  Most often, a conviction for the underlying First Degree DWI/DUI charge is required in order for the state to get its way.  However, under certain circumstances, the accompanying driver’s license revocation is enough for the state to prevail.

Driver’s License Cancellation for First Degree DWI/DUI

Simply being charged with a felony DUI/DWI can result in driver’s license cancellation.  If you don’t prevail at the Implied Consent Hearing, and you are convicted in criminal court, your license will be cancelled as Inimical of Public Safety.  In order to have your driving privileges reinstated, you must participate in the Ignition Interlock Program and demonstrate abstinence.

B-Card

Upon reinstatement of your driving privileges after being cancelled as Inimical of Public Safety, you will have what is called a “B card”.  It is an alcohol restriction that is placed on the back of your Minnesota driver’s license.  It effectively prohibits you from consuming alcohol anywhere, any time.  For example, you have party for the Vikings game.  You and your guests are a little too rowdy, and your neighbor calls the police.  When the police arrive, it’s obvious that you have been drinking.  The officer asks you for your identification, flip it over and notices the alcohol restriction.  Although it is not a crime to drink with a B-Card, if the officer notifies the DMV that you in violation of the alcohol restriction your driver’s license will be once again cancelled as Inimical of Public Safety. Imagine that you haven’t driven your vehicle all day, but your license gets canceled simply because you were drinking beer at home during a football game.

Contact Attorney Carson J. Heefner Today

Carson J. Heefner has over 20 years experience representing individuals charged with First Degree DWI/DUI.  If you or someone you know has been charged with First Degree DWI/DUI, contact Carson at  612-202-8971 or carson@heefnerlaw.com for a free consultation.