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Minnesota Felony DUI

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What's the importance of a "Minnesota felony DUI"?

Simply this: in Minnesota, a first-degree DUI / DWI conviction is a felony that is punishable by up to seven years in jail, a fine up to $14,000, or both.

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Minnesota Felony DUIs and the Four Degrees of DUI / DWI

In Minnesota, if you are convicted of drunk driving (DWI or DUI), you WILL experience the following:

  • Large fines

  • Court costs

  • House arrest

  • Mandatory alcohol treatment and education

  • Jail time

  • Lengthy probation

If you are convicted of a second DWI or DUI offense, you WILL be incarcerated for at least 30 days AND lose your driver's license for one year.

In addition, in Minnesota the following four degrees of DUI / DWI exist:

  • A First degree DUI is a felony

  • A Second degree DUI is a gross misdemeanor

  • A Third degree DUI is a gross misdemeanor

  • A Fourth degree DUI is a misdemeanor

The Prosecuting Attorney and Minnesota DUIs

A prosecuting attorney determines the degree to charge the person based on two factors: the person's present driving record and the person's driving record within the last ten years before the present offense.

A person's DUI convictions, blood alcohol content, and prior alcohol-related driver's license suspensions all play a major part in determining what degree DUI a person will be charged with.

You may be charged with a DUI, which falls under Minnesota Statute 169A.20, under any one of the following circumstances:

  • If you operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol

  • If you operate a motor vehicle under the influence of a controlled substance

  • If you operate a motor vehicle with an alcohol concentration of .08 or more

  • If you operate a commercial motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content of .04 or more

  • If you refuse to submit to a blood, breath, or urine test (after being stopped by an officer)

Minnesota has also established mandatory sentencing guidelines, so that individuals who receive first, second, or third degree DUIs MUST experience some mandatory jail time.

It is important to note, moreover, that if a person tests at or above the legal limit regarding blood alcohol concentration for drinking and driving, his or her driving privileges will be taken away.

Minnesota Felony DUIs - The First Degree

In Minnesota, a first-degree DUI / DWI conviction is a felony that is punishable by up to seven years in jail, a fine up to $14,000, or both.

A first-degree DWI / DUI is charged if the person has three or more of the following aggravating factors:

  • Child Endangerment exists (i.e., a child under the age of 16 was in the vehicle at the time of the offense)

  • Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) that is more than twice the legal limit of (2 x .08 = .16)

  • A prior impaired driving incident within a 10-year period of time (this includes DWI convictions or DUI license revocations).

With a first-degree DWI conviction, the state will also impound the license plates of the driver's vehicle and might also seek forfeiture of the driver's vehicle, without any reparation to the owner.

Finally, the state statute mandates the law enforcement agency to keep the defendant in jail until the first court appearance if one or more of the following events has taken place:

  • The most recent DUI violation occurs within a 10-year period of time in which the defendant received 3 or more prior impaired driving convictions.

  • The most recent DUI violation is the second offense and the driver is under the age of 19.

  • The most recent violation occurs with a Blood Alcohol content of .16 or higher within 2 hours of the driving offense.

  • The most recent DUI occurs and the defendant's drivers license has been cancelled because the person has been determined to be a danger to public safety.

Once A Felon, Always a Felon?

From the above it can be determined that a Minnesota felony DUI is a serious offense that can possibly place a person "in the system" for the rest of his or her life.

It's a sad fact of life that the saying "once a felon, always a felon" is so very true in many, if not most instances.

We have made a few references to a "10-year period of time" in our discussion. Essentially, this means that a DUI is an "enhanceable" offense.

More precisely, this means that any alcohol-related offences you have had within the past ten years can be used against you to "enhance" the current penalty.

Minnesota Felony DUIs and Prison

As a final thought on this dreary but important subject, we would like to focus on a few facts regarding what happens to a person once he or she goes to jail for a DUI felony:

  • A person sent to prison for a felony DUI is not eligible for early release until he or she has successfully completed a chemical dependency treatment program while in prison.

  • After a felony DUI offender is released from prison, the court, according to statute, must place the person on "conditional release" for five years. These conditions are determined and imposed by the commissioner of corrections and can include a highly monitored and strict probationary program for repeat DUI offenders. If the person fails to honor the conditions of release, the commissioner of corrections may invalidate the release and order the person to return to prison.

Minnesota is not the only state with felony DUI laws.

Obviously, alcohol-related accidents, injuries, and fatalities are forcing state legislators to make their DUI standards and consequences increasingly more strict.

Conclusion: Minnesota Felony DUI

Minnesota felony DUI. In response to the number of alcohol-related fatalities and injuries that take place on our highways every year, some state governments have decided to get stricter with people who receive DUIs, especially those who have received multiple DUIs in a ten-year period of time.

Quite frankly, cracking down on drunken drivers is something that simply had to be done.

In the evolution of laws that have been passed against drunken-drivers, however, at least one more consideration needs to be addressed.

Since more than 50% of US drivers arrested for drunk driving are repeat offenders, we believe that those who are incarcerated due to alcohol-related offenses need to receive mandatory alcoholism treatment while they are in jail or in prison.

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Our rationale is as follows. It simply makes sense to think that alcohol-related offenders who have received alcoholism treatment while incarcerated are more likely to become responsible people who refrain from drinking while driving and less likely to become repeat DUI offenders once they return to society.

Stated differently, if those who are incarcerated for alcohol-related offenses do NOT receive treatment for their drinking problems while they are serving time, once they return to society they are simply too likely to become repeat offenders.

Along these lines, if you have alcohol-related health problems it is to your advantage to get immediate medical attention so that you can get your drinking situation under control, regain your health, and avoid the negative consequences of hazardous and irresponsible drinking.

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