Third Offense DWI

People who have been previously arrested for driving while impaired (DWI) in Minnesota know that there are several aggravating factors that can complicate criminal charges and administrative sanctions. However, cases are generally more straightforward when an alleged offender is charged with his or her third DWI within 10 years of the first arrest.

Unlike prior arrests in which a lower blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can keep these crimes classified as misdemeanors, third DWI offenses are automatically gross misdemeanors—regardless of the alleged offender’s BAC. If convicted, alleged offenders can face very lengthy sentences of imprisonment and possibly being ordered to pay steep fines.

Apple Valley Third Offense DWI Lawyer

If you have been arrested for your third drunk driving offense in the Twin Cities, you should immediately seek experienced legal representation. James Blumberg of James Blumberg Law is a former prosecutor who has overseen scores of DWI cases, and he now defends clients in communities throughout Ramsey County, Hennepin County, Dakota County, and Anoka County.

Our Dakota County third offense DWI attorney represents people in various areas in and around the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, including Eagan, St. Cloud, Burnsville, Minnetonka, Brooklyn Park, Woodbury, and Coon Rapids. Call (952) 431-7758 right now to have our firm review your case during a free, confidential consultation.

Minnesota Third Offense DWI Information Center

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Third Offense DWI Charges in Dakota County

When a person has been arrested for DWI for the third time, the crime is automatically classified as the gross misdemeanor offense of second-degree DWI. Under Minnesota Statute § 169A.25, a person can be charged with second-degree DWI if he or she:

  • Drives, operates, or is in physical control of any motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance and there are two or more aggravating factors; or
  • Drives, operates, or is in physical control of any motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, refuses to submit to chemical testing, and there is one aggravating factor.

Aggravating factors in non-felony cases are defined in Minnesota Statute § 169A.03 as including having an alcohol concentration of 0.20 or having a child under the age of 16 in the motor vehicle at the time of the offense, but these also include a qualified prior impaired driving incident within the 10 years immediately preceding the current offense. This aggravating factor alone triggers the second-degree DWI classification.

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Third Offense DWI Criminal Penalties in Apple Valley

As a gross misdemeanor offense, an alleged offender’s third DWI arrest could potentially result in a maximum sentence of one-year imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $3,000. Furthermore, Minnesota Statute § 169A.275 also established harsh mandatory minimum penalties for these violations.

Under this statute, a person who is convicted of DWI for the third time within 10 years of the first of two qualified prior impaired driving incidents will be sentenced to either:

  • A minimum of 90 days of incarceration, at least 30 days of which must be served consecutively in a local correctional facility (the court can order the alleged offender to serve not more than 60 days of the minimum penalty on home detention or in an intensive probation program); or
  • A program of intensive supervision that requires the alleged offender to consecutively serve at least six days in a local correctional facility.

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Minnesota Third Offense DWI Administrative Penalties

After an alleged offender fails or refuses a chemical test for a third DWI offense within a 10-year period, his or her driver’s license will be canceled and denied indefinitely as “inimical to public safety.” In these cases, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) requires alleged offenders to undergo chemical dependency rehabilitation for at least one year.

The DPS standards for rehabilitation require alleged offenders to:

  • Successfully complete chemical dependency treatment in a program that requires complete abstinence from alcohol and controlled substances;
  • Actively participate in a recognized chemical dependency support group;
  • Completely abstain from alcohol and controlled substances; and
  • Obtain sworn affidavits vouching to that effect from at least five other familiar witnesses (who are not relatives, an employer, or employees of the person).

To ensure compliance, the court will typically require an alleged offender to submit to remote electronic alcohol monitoring (REAM). DPS can issue a limited license to an alleged offender whose driver’s license is revoked or canceled if he or she qualifies for participation in an ignition interlock program.

Under this program, eligible participants may be granted one year of a limited license with an ignition interlock restriction upon enrollment in treatment and two years of an ignition interlock restricted driver’s license upon completion of treatment. Three years of no detected use of alcohol and/or drugs is required for removal of the ignition interlock device.

In addition to the many administrative driver’s license sanctions, an alleged offender will also have his or her vehicle forfeited and license plates impounded following a third DWI arrest.

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Additional Resources

Minnesota Department of Public Safety: Office of Traffic Safety: Access the official website for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety to view information regarding impaired driving laws. You can read about the state’s legal alcohol-concentration driving limit and DWI sanctions with ignition interlock.

Minnesota Statutes: Driving While Impaired – Access the official website for the Minnesota Legislature to view information regarding driving while impaired (DWI) such as definitions and penalties.

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Apple Valley Third Offense DWI Lawyer | Dakota County, Minnesota

Were you arrested in Minnesota for your third drunk driving offense? You should not waste any time in retaining legal counsel.

Former prosecutor James Blumberg of James Blumberg Law helps clients facing these charges all over the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, including such surrounding cities as Plymouth, Blaine, Maple Grove, Bloomington, Eden Prairie, and Lakeville. You can have our Apple Valley third offense DWI attorney provide a complete evaluation of your case as soon as you call (952) 431-7758 to schedule a free consultation.

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