Is a DWI a Misdemeanor or a Felony?

a car getting pulled over by the police

A Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) can be charged and prosecuted as a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony depending on the seriousness of the offense.

Below, our Minneapolis defense attorneys discuss the three classifications of this crime.

Misdemeanor DWI

A first-time DWI or a DWI for someone who had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) between 0.08% and 0.16% will be charged as a misdemeanor.

The penalties for a misdemeanor DWI offense may include:

  • Maximum 90-day jail sentence
  • Up to $1,000 in fines
  • 90 days of no driving privileges

Gross Misdemeanor DWI

In August 2015, a Minnesota law was passed which mandated that drivers with BAC levels of .16% or higher will be charged with gross misdemeanors.

There are what’s called “aggravating factors” which can enhance a misdemeanor DWI to a gross misdemeanor DWI. Additionally, a second DWI offense may be charged as a gross misdemeanor.

The penalties for a gross misdemeanor DWI offense may include:

  • Up to one year in jail
  • $3,000 in fines
  • One year of no driving privileges
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device

Felony DWI

In Minnesota, a DWI may be charged as a felony if one of the following is true:

  • The driver received three or more DWI convictions in the past 10 years.
  • The driver has previously been convicted of a felony DWI crime.
  • The driver’s impairment caused serious injury or death to another person.

The penalties for a felony DWI are harsh and may include:

  • A prison sentence of three to seven years
  • A fine of up to $14,000
  • Severe driving restrictions

Facing a DWI Charge? Contact Us Today for Strong Representation

If you are facing a misdemeanor or felony DWI charge, there is a lot on the line for you. A DWI conviction can make it difficult for you to secure employment in the future. With so much at stake, it’s important for you to contact one of our experienced defense attorneys at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A. as soon as possible.

Contact us today at (612) 444-5020 to schedule a consultation.

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