Minnesota treats DWI charges seriously, but the level of severity of such a charge is significantly increased for those who have already been convicted of the same charge. The previous conviction is considered an aggravating factor, although the court will not review a defendant’s complete driving history to determine whether the charge is a repeat offense. If a defendant has been successfully convicted of a DWI charge, it is an enhanceable offense.
It is important to understand how previous DWI Minnesota incidents will affect a case. DWI attorneys can assist in understanding how to calculate aggravating factors in a DWI case.
Types of Aggravating Factors
There are several different factors that are considered aggravating for a DWI Minnesota charge:
Each DWI incident on a driver’s record for 10 years prior to the current incident
Underage passengers (children under 16 years old)
A BAC (blood alcohol level) of at least 0.20
Each of these factors will increase the severity by which the court will judge the defendant.
How an Aggravating Factor Affects the Offense
Each factor will be considered separately and will result in a more severe charge. The degree to which a charge will be increased for the aggravating factors.
If a driver has no previous DWI charge and no other aggravating factors, the charge will be a fourth-degree DWI. The maximum penalty someone convicted of a fourth-degree DWI will spend 90 days in jail, receive a $1,000 fine, or both. It will be a misdemeanor offense on the convicted person’s record.
A single aggravating factor or the refusal to submit to a DWI test will be considered a third-degree DWI. For drivers who are convicted with one previous DWI incident without other aggravating factors will serve up to a year in prison, a $3,000 fine, or both. A third-degree DWI is a gross misdemeanor.
Having a previous DWI incident and at least one other aggravating factor will result in a second-degree DWI charge. A person may also be charged with a second-degree DWI if there are two aggravating factors, even if the person has no prior incidents on their record. It is also a gross misdemeanor.
The first-degree DWI is a felony, and anyone convicted of it will face up to severe years in prison, a $14,000 fine, or both. There are numerous factors considered for a first-degree charge.
A DWI Minnesota attorney can help understand how prior convictions or factors affect a case.