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What is a DWI?

What is a DWI?

In Minnesota, a DWI is a criminal offense of driving while impaired. Minnesota Statutes 169A.20 makes a crime to operate vehicles after consuming alcohol.

What causes a DWI?

A DWI can occur in multiple ways. It is a crime to drive a car or be in physical control of one with any of the following circumstances:

  • When the person is under the influence of alcohol
  • When the person is under the influence of a controlled substance
  • When a person has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08 within two hours of driving
  • If a person has any amount of a controlled substance other than marijuana in their system

What is the difference between a DWI and DUI?

In Minnesota, there is no difference between a DWI and a DUI. They are acronyms for two versions of common names for the offense. In Minnesota, the statute lists it as “driving while impaired,” so DWI is appropriate for Minnesota offenses. However, other states may use driving under the influence or “DUI” and some use operating under the influence or “OUI.” In Minnesota all of this conduct is covered by one set of criminal offenses.

What can happen if you get a DWI?

There are many potential penalties if you are convicted of a DWI. You can be convicted of a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, or felony depending on the severity. In addition, you could be sentenced to jail, prison, sentence to serve, house arrest, or community service. There are usually probation requirements, such as completing a chemical dependency assessment and a MADD Victim Impact Panel class. There is also usually a fine. In addition to criminal penalties, you may receive civil penalties, such as driver’s license revocation,  license plate impoundment, vehicle forfeiture.

If you are charged with a DWI and have questions, contact experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney Eric Rice for a free consultation. Eric has experience representing clients charged with DWIs and can help ensure that you receive the the best result possible. You can contact Eric at (651) 998-9660 to learn more about your options.