DWI and Driving-Related Legal Problems

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

Minnesota DUI Lawyer Thomas Gallagher has helped people win their Minnesota DUI cases 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, defense information, and services offered.  Related pages on this site include:

Impaired by Alcohol?

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

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 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: a special “whisky” DWI license plate, a car forfeiture, or even a lifetime loss of normal Minnesota drivers’ license (with only a “B-Card” license after years of no license).

Need Help with a DUI?

Minnesota DUI Lawyer Thomas Gallagher can help.

After DUI arrests, Gallagher helps people fight DUI charges – from 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.  He works for justice , and fair enforcement of the laws.  Gallagher strives for excellence.  He is one of the best DUI attorneys in the area.

Minnesota DUI Lawyer Thomas C Gallagher has been winning these cases in Minnesota courts since 1988, including:

• Minnesota Felony DWI cases (for example, fourth in ten years; presumptive three-year prison sentence).
• Criminal Vehicular Homicide charges.
• Criminal Vehicular Operation cases.
• Minnesota Implied Consent law cases (suspended drivers license lawyer).
• Gross Misdemeanor DWI, and mandatory minimum jail term cases.
• Misdemeanor and first time DWI cases.
• DWI – Marijuana cases.

Minnesota DUI Lawyer Gallagher has helped people with:

• midnight calls from jail (“should I take the DUI test? Urine or blood? Get an Additional Test?”).
• avoid DUI charges.
• avoid lengthy jail or prison sentences in cases with priors.
• get their 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 may not be impaired.   Back then, the legislature set that limit at 0.15 because, we were told, 0.15 was the level that some drivers became impaired.

Personal responsibility

What happened to the idea that each individual should be 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 threshold for “presumed guilty” (even if sober in fact) has been lowered 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 the case.  In fact Minnesota courts ruled that impairment evidence is irrelevant and can be hidden from the jury if the only claimed violation is  0.08 or more.

Misguided public policy

About 80% of the people arrested for DWI in Minnesota have no prior convictions and are below the original arbitrary limit of 0.15.  Should scarce government resources (tax dollars) be spent on damaging people who are not endangering the public?  While police waste hours, and courts waste days on the first time arrestee with a claimed 0.09 alcohol report, 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 will help protect you from these unfair laws.

Unreliable or Limited Science; and Forensic Science Fraud or Misconduct

Beyond the targeting of unimpaired drivers, anti-alcohol enforcement in Minnesota is fundamentally flawed due to unreliable science, or sometimes even forensic science fraud and misconduct by the state.

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 criminal prosecution
  • Illegal stop results in clean record
  • Illegal arrest results in driver win
  • Drinking After Driving defense
  • Police failed to observe any 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, inaccurate chemical “test” (breath, urine, blood) results in driver win
  • Police Failure to Vindicate Right to Counsel
  • Police Denial of Right to Additional Test
  • Temporary or early reinstatement of license
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.