Minnesota Felony DWI
Is Minnesota’s felony DWI law the answer? Are severe penalties the solution to alcohol-related auto injury accidents?
We have a mountain of evidence that says, no. Severe penalties aren’t the answer. (What about better public transit, and free chemical dependency treatment for addicts?) Apart from the public policy question, though, let’s consider a practical one.
What should you do after an arrest for Felony DUI in Minnesota?
The Best Defense
The answer is simple. Retain the best felony DWI attorney you can find.
Thomas Gallagher is one of the best Minnesota Felony DWI Lawyers. Gallagher knows what to do. He can help you.
To speak with Minneapolis Felony DWI Lawyer Thomas Gallagher, you can call:
The Minnesota Felony DWI Statute is Section 169A.24 “First-degree driving while impaired.” Seven-years is the maximum. Though judges rarely impose the maximum sentence, penalties can be severe.
When is a DUI a felony in Minnesota?
Most DWI charges in Minnesota misdemeanors, not felonies. So what makes a DUI charge a felony in Minnesota? The answer is in Minnesota Statutes Section 169A.24, subd. 1:
“A person who violates section 169A.20 (driving while impaired) is guilty of first-degree driving while impaired if the person:
(1) commits the violation within ten years of the first of three or more qualified prior impaired driving incidents;
(2) has previously been convicted of a felony under this section; or
(3) has previously been convicted of a felony under:”
[criminal vehicular homicide and injury, substance-related offenses]
Three or more “qualified prior impaired driving incidents” within ten years is the most common charge.
Collateral Attack on Priors
We can look at the priors alleged by the prosecutor. Sometimes we can get a judge to throw them out. If we do, the felony DWI reduces to a non-felony. This kind of defense is a collateral attack on priors.
Mandatory Minimum sentencing law
The Mandatory Minimum sentencing statute is Minnesota Statutes Section 169A.276 “Mandatory penalties; felony violations.” It asks a judge to sentence a minimum of three years prison for felony DWI (first-degree).
It also provides for alternatives a judge can order, though these are stringent as well.
We seek to avoid the mandatory minimum three years prison sentence. To do that, we need to take a proactive approach.
Issues in Minnesota Felony DWI Defense
Common issues in these cases include avoiding or mitigating:
- State prison time (as opposed to county jail time)
- Executed workhouse – county jail time
- Felony Criminal Record
- Pre-trial release; Bail
- Car Forfeiture
- Plate Impoundments(s)
- Drivers License Revocations, Cancellations; implied consent law and B-Card no-use restrictions
Time is of the Essence – Delay Can Lose Cases
After an arrest for DUI, most are aware of the court date in the criminal case. But many are not aware of the Minnesota drivers license revocation. It becomes final unless challenged in 60 days or less. That requires serving and filing a Petition for Judicial Review with the court within that deadline. This applies to felony DWI cases, too.
The deadline to challenge a Minnesota DWI Plate Impoundment is also within 60 days.
DWI Vehicle Forfeitures are normally administrative. We should challenge them within 60 days per the statute.
The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that these deadlines are jurisdictional (no exceptions).
Therefore, a person arrested for felony DWI should seek legal counsel from a good Minnesota DWI lawyer right away. (Do not wait until the court date in the DWI criminal case approaches to do so. That may be too late.)
Minnesota DWI frequently asked questions
Of course, avoid driving after drinking. If it’s too late for that, and police stop you, then what? See our article: Countermeasures at a DWI Stop: the Party Question.
The changes a lot in this area. So if police ask for a breath, blood or urine sample, exercise your right to call a lawyer before giving a sample. And be sure to request the phone after to arrange an Additional Test of your own.
For more DWI frequently asked questions: DWI- FAQ.
Free Consultation with Minneapolis DUI Defense Attorney Gallagher
If you face a Minnesota Felony DWI, related license revocation or vehicle forfeiture, and would like to set up a free half-hour consultation, call Thomas C Gallagher.
Minnesota Felony DWI?
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