Minnesota uses a system of four degrees to classify and prosecute driving while impaired (DWI) offenses, also known as DUI (Driving Under the Influence). These degrees are:
- First-Degree DWI: This is the most severe level of DWI in Minnesota and is charged in cases involving aggravating factors. These factors can include having three prior DWI convictions within the past 10 years. First-degree DWI is a felony in Minnesota and typically carries a stayed prison sentence.
- Second-Degree DWI: This level of DWI is charged when a person has a prior DWI conviction within the past 10 years, with the aggravating factor of a BAC level of .16 or greater. The charge can also occur if the driver has two prior conviction within the past 10 years and a BAC of over .08. Second-degree DWI is a gross misdemeanor punishable by 365 days in jail and a $3,000 fine.
- Third-Degree DWI: Third-degree DWI is charged when a person has an aggravating factor of a BAC of .16 with no prior DWI offenses, or one prior conviction within the past 10 years a BAC of .159 or less. It is a gross misdemeanor punishable by 365 days in jail and a $3,000 fine.
- Fourth-Degree DWI: This is the least severe level of DWI in Minnesota. It is charged when a person has no prior DWI convictions and the current offense involves a BAC above the legal limit (0.08% for adults, lower for some individuals such as commercial drivers or those under 21 years old) but less than .16. Fourth-degree DWI is a misdemeanor punishable by 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.
Please note that DWI penalties can vary based on individual circumstances and the facts of the case. It’s essential to consult with an attorney or check the most recent Minnesota state laws and regulations for the most up-to-date information on DWI classifications and penalties. Additionally, penalties for DWI offenses can include fines, license suspension, mandatory alcohol education programs, and even imprisonment, depending on the degree of the offense and other factors.