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When is a DWI in Minnesota Considered a Felony?


If you’ve been charged with a DUI or DWI in Minnesota, there may be some serious consequences you’re facing. The good news is that most DWIs in Minnesota are considered to be misdemeanors, which means that you’ll only most likely face a fine and the possibility of losing your license. But if you’re a repeat offender, you may be charged with a felony DWI, and in Minnesota, that can carry some hefty punishments, including jail time.

DWIs in Minnesota are classified depending on the aggravating factors. These are factors that contributed to the crime, such as how intoxicated you were, if there was anybody injured in your DWI accident, and other factors. The more aggravating factors you have in your own case will decide on how your case is criminally classified. Those who have no aggravating factors will have a 4th degree offence and may be charged up to $1000 and/or 90 days in jail. A 3rd or 2nd degree offence is classified as a gross misdemeanor and will carry punishments of up to a $3000 fine and/or up to one year in jail.

Although those offences are classified as misdemeanors, there is a felony DWI classification in Minnesota. A felony DWI will include three aggravating factors and will be classified as a 1st degree DWI, which is a felony in the state of Minnesota. And because it’s classified as a felony, this offence carries very severe penalties, with a possibility of up to seven years of jail time and a $14,000 fine.

Minnesota regards repeat DWI charges as increasingly severe

But the state of Minnesota also goes further in classifying their DUIs and their DWIs. There is an entire separate classification for those who are repeat offenders in DUIs. Consistently driving drunk will get you some pretty serious fines and jail times as well. Because DUIs and DWIs are classified differently in the state, the penalties are different. However, if you’re a repeat offender for DUIs, then you’ll find yourself doing at least some jail time.

The penalties for DUIs get increasingly larger when you have multiple repeat offences in a period of ten years. The penalty for 5 DUIs in ten years seems to be the greatest. But it’s always important to remember that if you have more than that, the judge may decide to give you a longer sentence. The standard penalty for 5 DUIs in Minnesota is at least one year in jail. Of that one year, it’s mandatory that at least 60 days must be served consecutively in a jail or workhouse. This could pose serious problems for those who were hoping for a probation period where they could still go to work or school.

DUIs and DWIs are both very serious offences in the state of Minnesota. The state hopes that you will learn your lesson after you’ve been charged with one DUI and if you don’t, the penalties become even more harsh. And, if your instance of DWI results in injury to another person, or other damage, you could be facing a felony.

Douglas V. Hazelton, Attorney at Law

7900 Xerxes Avenue South
Bloomington, MN 55431
Phone: 612-334-3342

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