Twin Cities Area First DWI Defense Lawyer
Being arrested for a drunk driving offense can be overwhelming, especially if it is your first DWI. You may not know the next step to take or how to defend yourself against these allegations. However, it is important to know that a DWI charge does not have to result in a conviction.
A conviction for this offense could have a serious impact on the personal and professional aspects of a person’s life. This could mean jail time, expensive fines and even issues keeping your driving privileges. Working with an experienced attorney could make the difference in your case.
Apple Valley First DWI Attorney
If you are facing charges for a first drunk driving offense, you need to start building a strong defense immediately. Contact Apple Valley DWI defense lawyer James Blumberg at (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation. As a former prosecutor, his experience on both sides of the law is beneficial when crafting a strong defense strategy.
James can help you understand the charges you face and work with you to decide your best option for fighting them. James Blumberg Law represents clients throughout Dakota County, including Burnsville, Eagan, Hastings, Inver Grove Heights, Lakeville, Mendota Heights and Rosemount, as well as anywhere in the Twin Cities region, such as Hennepin County, Ramsey County and Anoka County.
Information About First DWI Charges
- First DWI Offense Penalties
- Administrative Penalties for a First DWI Offense
- DWI Chemical Test Refusal
- First DWI Using an Off-Road Recreational Vehicle or Motorboat
First DWI Offense Penalties
When a person is charged with his or her first DWI offense without aggravating factors in Minnesota, he or she likely would face fourth-degree DWI charges, according to Minnesota Statute 169A.27. This charge is a misdemeanor and is the least harsh of the DWI charges in the state. However, it still could carry serious penalties.
If a person is charged with his or her first DWI offense and has an alcohol concentration level less than 0.20, he or she would face misdemeanor charges. This could result in 90 days in jail, a $1,000 fine or both.
If the driver has an alcohol concentration level less than 0.20 but has a child in the vehicle, it would be a gross misdemeanor. Because of the aggravating factor of the child in the vehicle, the charge would be a third-degree DWI. This charge could mean one year in jail, a $3,000 fine or both. Additionally, this offense could lead to child endangerment charges and additional penalties.
A DWI charge with an alcohol concentration level of 0.20 or more also would be a third-degree DWI gross misdemeanor. This could result in one year in jail, a $3,000 fine or both.
If a child was in the vehicle, the driver could face the same amount of jail time and fines in addition to harsh administrative penalties. This is a second-degree DWI, because two aggravating factors are present: an alcohol concentration greater than 0.20 and a child present in the vehicle.
Administrative Penalties for a First DWI Offense
Minnesota law also states that a person charged with a DWI offense could face administrative penalties, even if there is not a conviction. These administrative penalties, similar to the criminal penalties, vary based on the offense. However, they can take effect immediately after an arrest.
If a driver charged with his or her first DWI offense has an alcohol concentration level of less than 0.16, the driver has the choice of 15 days with no driving privileges and a limited license for remaining 90-day period or full driving privileges for 90-day period with use of ignition interlock. If the driver enters a guilty plea for the DWI, the 90 days would be reduced to 30.
If a child is in the vehicle and the driver has an alcohol concentration level less than 0.16, the penalties would be the same. However, the 90-day period would not be reduced even if the person enters a guilty plea.
If the driver has an alcohol concentration level or 0.16 or more, whether or not a child was in the vehicle, he or she would face harsh penalties. The driver would have the option of one year of no driving privileges or one year with an ignition interlock device and a restricted driver’s license. The license plates also could be impounded and the vehicle could be forfeited.
Administrative penalties can be quite costly. For instance, all alcohol-related loss of driving privileges requires a $680 reinstatement fee, DWI knowledge test, driver’s license application with fees and chemical health assessment.
DWI Chemical Test Refusal
According to Minnesota Statute 169A.51, any person who drives, operates or is in physical control of a motor vehicle within the state is subject to a chemical test of that person’s blood, breath or urine for the purpose of determining the presence of alcohol, a controlled substance or its metabolite, or a hazardous substance.
Although a driver has the right to refuse the test, he or she could face additional criminal and administrative penalties. Refusing the test during a first DWI stop could be considered a gross misdemeanor, which could include one year in jail, $3,000 in fines or both.
Administratively, refusing the test could carry some harsh consequences. The driver would have the choice of 15 days of no driving privileges and a limited license for remainder of the year or full driving privileges for the year with use of ignition interlock.
First DWI Using an Off-Road Recreational Vehicle or Motorboat
A violator who has no prior impaired driving incident is subject only to the criminal penalty, which would be a misdemeanor, and the loss of operating privileges for that type of vehicle. For instance, if a driver is arrested for operating a motorboat under the influence, he or she could face losing the right to operate a boat.
In these cases, the driver would not be subject to a driver’s license revocation, mandatory chemical dependency assessment and treatment, mandatory conditions of release, long-term monitoring, the penalty assessment fee, or license plate impoundment.
However, any person who is arrested for a DWI violation involving an off-road recreational vehicle or motorboat and has a prior impaired driving incident on record is subject to the same administrative sanctions and criminal penalties as if person would be if arrested while driving a regular motor vehicle.
James Blumberg Law – A First DWI Defense Lawyer in Dakota County
DWI defense attorney James Blumberg understands how difficult it can be to handle the criminal justice system when you are accused of breaking the law. Instead of challenging your charges alone, James Blumberg can help. He represents clients in criminal and administrative matters throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation about your case today.