DWI and Driving-Related Legal Problems

Thomas Gallagher, Minnesota DUI Lawyer
Thomas Gallagher, Minnesota DUI Lawyer

Minnesota DUI Lawyer Thomas Gallagher helps people win their Minnesota DUI cases.  And he’s done so throughout the Twin Cities, as well as Greater Minnesota, since 1988.

Call Minnesota DUI Lawyer Thomas Gallagher for help: 612 333-1500


This is the main DWI page about Minnesota DWI laws, penalties, defenses, and services.  And, related pages include:

Minnesota Criminal Vehicular Homicide page

Minnesota Felony DWI page

Breath-Alcohol Machines in Minnesota page

Urine Testing in Minnesota page

Marijuana DUI in Minnesota page

Minnesota DWI FAQ page

Detox Release page

Impaired by Alcohol?

We don’t hear “drunk driving” much any more.  After all, now the arbitrary limit in Minnesota for an alcohol concentration test is down to 0.08.   That’s about half the first presumptive threshold in the 1970s – 0.15.

Good driving cases
Good driving cases

Things have changed.  And, penalties have become severe.

The penalties for a Minnesota DWI grow ever more severe.   And typically it can cost a person $15,000 or more over a five-year period.  Consequences include the “implied consent” license revocation, jail or prison time.

For drivers with priors, more problems to avoid:

  • special “whisky” DWI license plates,
  • a car forfeiture, or even
  • a lifetime loss of normal Minnesota drivers’ license (with a “B-Card” license, eventually).

Need Help with a DUI?

Minnesota DUI Lawyer Thomas Gallagher can help.

After DUI arrests, Gallagher helps people fight DUI charges.   He helps clients fight:

  • DWI first offense charges,
  • second within ten,
  • felony DWI, to
  • criminal vehicular operation and criminal vehicular homicide.

You can set up a free consultation with one of the best Minnesota DWI Lawyers about your case.

Minnesota DWI laws

Yes, Minnesota DUI laws are harsh.  But Minnesota DWI lawyer Gallagher can use his education, skill and experience to defend you.  Gallagher works hard for the people he represents.  And he works for justice , and fair enforcement of the laws.

Thomas Gallagher strives for excellence.  He is one of the best DUI attorneys in the area.

Minnesota DUI Lawyer Thomas C Gallagher has won these cases in Minnesota courts since 1988, including:
  • Minnesota Felony DWI cases (fourth in ten years; presumptive three-year prison sentence).
  • Criminal Vehicular Operation cases.
  • Implied Consent challenge (drivers license ).
  • Gross Misdemeanor DWI, and mandatory minimum penalties.
  • First time and Misdemeanor DWI
  • DUI Marijuana cases.
Minnesota DUI Lawyer Gallagher helps people with:
  • midnight calls from jail (“should I give a breath, urine or blood sample for a DUI arrest? Should I get an Additional Test?“).
  • defeat DUI charges.
  • avoid lengthy jail or prison sentences in cases with priors.
  • get driver’s license back (and so, keep their jobs), and clean up the driver’s license record.
  • avoid the special “WX” MN DWI license plates.
  • avoid or win back their car and vehicle after police seizure in DWI forfeiture cases.

Gallagher works to use and enforce the laws – criminal and civil; procedural and constitutional – to defend the legal rights of the people he represents.  By extension this work protects their families and the liberty and property rights of all the people of Minnesota.

The Deliberate Targeting of Non-impaired drivers by police and the state

Minnesota’s alcohol and driving statutes, like the rest of the United States, have become broader and broader over the years.

The first “per se” drunk driving statute is from  the 1970s.  A per se DWI law presumes impairment based on an alcohol measurement, even though you’re not impaired.   Back then, the legislature set that limit at 0.15.   Because, we were then told, 0.15 was the level that some drivers became impaired.

Personal responsibility

What happened to the idea that everyone is responsible for their own conduct?  And, how do you to know that you’re illegal to drive when you’re not impaired and feel fine?

Since the first bright line Per Se law, the state lowered the threshold for “presumed guilty” (even if sober), twice.  First the legislature reduced the limit to 0.10, and then to 0.08 – about half of the original  presumption of guilt-threshold.

Unfair to women

A 100 pound woman can now be a DUI criminal for driving after two glasses of wine.  Even with undisputed proof of her perfect driving, this is so.  In fact Minnesota courts ruled that impairment evidence is irrelevant.  The prosecutor can hide it from the jury if the only claimed violation is  0.08 or more.

Misguided public policy

About 80% of the people in Minnesota DWI arrests have no priors, and are below the original limit of 0.15. Should government spend scarce resources on damaging people who are not endangering the public?  Police waste hours, and courts waste days on the first time arrestee with a claimed 0.09 alcohol report.  And while they do, the high BAC, repeat offenders keep driving along, unmolested.  This misdirection of resources on low BAC drivers with no priors endangers the public.

The laws in this area are irrational.  A good DWI defense lawyer can help protect you from these unfair laws.

Unreliable or Limited Science; and Forensic Science Fraud or Misconduct

Targeting unimpaired drivers is unfair.  But worse, unreliable science, or sometimes even misconduct by the state are fundamental flaws in anti-alcohol enforcement in Minnesota. 

DWI and Driving-Related Legal Problems

Criminal Alcohol-Related Driving Cases:
ethyl-alcohol molecule
ETOH dog molecule
  • Felony DWI, First Degree Driving While Impaired (Presumptive three years prison)
  • Gross Misdemeanor DWI, Second Degree and Third Degree Driving While Impaired (one year jail maximum)
  • Misdemeanor DWI, Fourth Degree Driving While Impaired (90 days jail maximum)
  • Mandatory Minimum sentencing, staggered sentencing
  • High Claimed Alcohol Level Report Cases (0.16 or more)
  • Dismissal Before Trial Motions
Drivers License Revocation under the Minnesota “Implied Consent” Statute:
  • Driver must serve and file “Petition for Judicial Review” within 60 days or revocation becomes permanent
  • State claims “consent” obtained after driver coerced with threats of prosecution
  • Illegal stop results in clean record
  • Illegal arrest results in driver win
  • Drinking After Driving defense
  • Police failed to observe driving
  • Not driving, operating or in control
  • Lack of temporal connection between driving and claimed alcohol level “test”
  • Denial of Right to Pre-“test” Legal Counsel results in state losing
  • Police misleading or driver confusion can result in driver win in court
  • Unreliable chemical “test” (breath, urine, blood) results in driver win
  • Police Failure to Vindicate Right to Counsel
  • Police Denial of Right to Additional Test
Plate Impoundment for alcohol-related driving accusation:
  • Driver must serve and file “Petition for Judicial Review” within 60 days or too late
  • “Whisky plates,” WX plates, XY plates, “special plates,” etc.
Car or Vehicle Forfeiture actions based upon alcohol-related driving accusation:
  • Owner must serve and file “Demand for Judicial Review” within 60 days or too late
  • Owner is sometimes not the driver at time of claimed offense
  • Innocent owner defense, Minnesota DWI forfeiture for innocent spouse
  • Numerous preconditions to forfeiture must exist or the owner gets the car back
  • If the government wins, the police and prosecutor keep the money – incentive to target expensive vehicles
The “B-Card” license case, or Minnesota Statutes §171.19 Petition:
  • Time limited to file court challenge
  • “Cancelled and Denied” drivers who later get “no alcohol” restricted “B-Card” licenses
  • Others, who seek a court hearing on license reinstatement

Need the best DWI defense for your case? Have a question? Call Minnesota DUI Lawyer Thomas C. Gallagher at 612 333-1500 for a free 30 minute consultation, or retainer meeting.