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DWI, DUI, and Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer

DWI, DUI, and drunk driving procedures and defenses are complex, and the consequences can have have life-altering implications.

Eric A. Rice

An Experienced DWI, DUI, and Drunk Driving Defense Lawyer

Looking for a DWI lawyer to help with your drunk driving charge? Eric Rice is a graduate of Harvard Law School with trial experience defending DWI and DWI Test Refusal charges. Minnesota’s DWI laws cover a variety of conduct and impose harsh penalties. The procedures and defenses are complex, and the consequences can have have life-altering implications. A DWI typically occurs when someone is intoxicated by alcohol and drives a car, but a DWI can also occur due to impairment by other drugs, or can occur on a boat or other vehicle. In addition to the criminal matter, civil matters can also be pursued regarding the driver’s license revocation, license plate impoundment, or vehicle forfeiture.

Here are some common questions regarding DWI laws in Minnesota:

What do the various degrees of DWI mean?

Minnesota has four degrees of DWI offenses. The fourth-degree DWI is the least serious. It is a misdemeanor offense and occurs when someone commits a DWI without any priors in the last 10 years and has no aggravating factors. Third-degree DWI and second-degree DWI are gross misdemeanors. They occur when there is one or two aggravating factors (including prior DWIs). Finally, a first-degree DWI is a felony. It typically occurs when there are three prior DWIs in the last 10 years. In addition to the common DWI, DWI test refusal can be charged when a test is refused. Test refusal typically adds an aggravating factor compared to the plain DWI.

Why are there two DWI charges on my ticket for only one offense?

In Minnesota, there are a variety of ways in which someone can be found guilty of DWI. For example, someone can be found guilty if a test reveals a blood alcohol content (BAC) greater than 0.08 even if that person was not impaired and was driving perfectly. Conversely, even if a person’s BAC is lower than 0.08, they can be found guilty of DWI if their driving was impaired due to the alcohol. In addition, a test refusal can be added to a common DWI charge if the test is refused. Because of these different methods of proving a DWI, some prosecutors charge multiple counts to try to pursue a conviction under multiple theories. Typically, however, a person will only be convicted and sentenced on one count if they are found guilty of DWI.

What are the penalties for DWI?

The criminal penalties vary depending on the degree of DWI charged. For misdemeanors, the maximum sentence is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. For gross misdemeanors, the maximum sentence is 365 days in jail and a $3,000 fine. For felony DWI, the maximum sentence is seven years in prison and a $14,000 fine. In addition to the maximums, there are statutory minimums that may apply depending on the factual circumstances. Because the sentencing laws for DWIs are complex, a drunk driving attorney is recommended for all DWI matters.

The police took my car. Can I get it back?

As part of DWI, the police may impound your vehicle. If the DWI is a fourth- or third-degree DWI, you may be able to pick it up from the impound lot. If you have a second- or first-degree DWI, you may have been served with a notice of intent to forfeit the vehicle. This notice means that the police intend to take your vehicle and sell it at an auction. In order to challenge this action, you need to file a civil action contesting the forfeiture. Typically, you only have 60 days from when you receive the notice to file the challenge. So, if your vehicle is taken, you should quickly contact a DWI attorney to learn your options.

Will I go to jail for a DWI?

In Minnesota, the outcome you receive for a DWI depends on the specific facts of the case and your criminal history. Under Minnesota law, there is no required jail time for a first-time offender. For a second-time DWI offender, Minnesota law requires a minimum of 30 days of custody, at least 48 hours of which must be served at a jail. A third-time DWI offender is required to serve at least 90 days of custody at least 30 days of which must be served at a jail. A fourth-degree DWI offender must serve a minimum of 180 days of jail. Despite these requirements, there are ways to reduce the amount of jail time imposed, such as through the use of ignition interlock. In addition, some custody time can be served on programs such as house arrest, or sentence to serve.

Find Out What Your Options Are

In addition to these questions, there are many other issues surrounding a DWI, such as: Can I drive while my license is revoked? What defenses do I have? Can I avoid jail time? What treatment should I pursue? These questions and others can be answered by talking to a DUI attorney.

Being charged with a DWI is a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience. Many people don’t know what will happen and are scared of the consequences. DWI attorney Eric Rice offers a free consultation to answer your questions so you can put your mind at ease. If you are charged with a DWI call Eric Rice at (651) 998-9660 for a free consultation with no obligation.

I was arrested for domestic assault. I was facing some considerable time for something I did not commit. . . . [Eric] never failed to return my calls. Together we developed a strong defense. When in court, Eric was nothing but a professional's professional. I was absolutely impressed and amazed on how much respect he demanded from the Judge and the prosecution. He quickly and surprisingly had my case dismissed. I even got a veiled apology from the prosecution. The guy's a winner and will be one for a very long time.K.M.
Eric made sure that I fully understood what took place and why. He also told me that even though his job was done, that should I have questions in the future to feel free to call him. I just can't say enough good things about him. I thank God that we found him and will never be able to truely explained how blessed I felt to have him represent my son. If you are considering hireing Eric, I would highly recommend him. I hope that I will never need his services again but I will hire him again should I need him.Tammie
I take pride in HIGHLY recommending to you a very exceptional & deserving Attorney, Eric A. Rice. Eric is extremely professional and he has a wonderful blend of analytical and inter personal skills. Eric demonstrated extraordinary diligence and perseverance throughout the court case; his meticulous approach resulted into a dismissal of our case. On behalf of all involved in this case, we are very grateful that Eric was referred to us and HIGHLY recommend him. Eric, you rock!Adam’s Mom :)
I am happy to recommend Eric Rice as a highly competent, very responsive and thorough attorney. He possesses compassion and is easy to communicate with. My case was resolved to my complete satisfaction.L.D.