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Criminal penalties for a conviction of driving while intoxicated can include jail time and/or large monetary fines.  However, apart from criminal penalties for a DWI conviction, Minnesota law also provides for separate civil penalties, including cancellation or revocation of your driving privileges.  Having your driver’s license taken away is a serious DWI conviction consequence as it can affect your ability to keep a job, go to school, or participate in day-to-day activities.  The harshest part of the entire civil process is that you are not “innocent until proven guilty” like you are in the criminal arena. The Department of Public Safety can revoke your license first, and it is up to you to challenge them to get it back.

DWI Arrest

After you are arrested for DWI, if you fail the chemical test at the police station by blowing a 0.08 or higher, or you refuse to take the chemical test, your driver’s license may be revoked immediately.  It is important that you act quickly following this action as you are given only a seven day temporary license to drive before the withdrawal is effective.  During this period you can request a hearing before an administrative law judge to challenge the driver’s license sanction.  If your driving privileges are withdrawn you may be able to obtain a limited or restricted license that allows you to drive only to work or school, or other court-approved locations.  

Loss of Driving Privileges

The length of time that you may lose your driving privileges is as follows:

1st offense within 10 years

  • If your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is less than 0.16, then your driving privileges may be revoked for 90 days.  You may be able to choose between (1) 15 days of no driving privileges, and 75 days of driving on a limited license; or (2) 90 days of driving privileges with the installation of an ignition interlock.  The 90 day withdrawal may be reduced to 30 days upon a DWI conviction.
  • If your BAC is less than 0.16 and you have a child in your car, your driving privileges can be revoked for 90 days.  Again, you may be able to choose between (1) 15 days of no driving privileges, and 75 days of driving on a limited license; or (2) full driving privileges for the 90 day period with use of the ignition interlock.
  • If your BAC is 0.16 or over, then your license may be revoked for one year, or you may only drive on an ignition interlock restricted license. The limited license option is not available to you here.
  • If you refuse the chemical test, your license may be withdrawn for one year.  However you may have a choice of (1) 15 days of no driving privileges and a limited license for the remaining 350 days; or (2) full driving privileges for the year with the use of an ignition interlock.  It is important to note, that the plea in the criminal case can and does affect the license revocation time on refusal cases.

2nd offense within 10 years

  • If your BAC is under 0.16, then your license may be withdrawn for a period of one year, or you may drive with an ignition interlock restricted license.
  • If your BAC is 0.16 or higher, you may lose driving privileges for two years, or drive the two years with an ignition interlock restricted license.
  • If there is a child in the car, the revocation period is dependent upon the BAC level as noted above under the first-offense sanctions.
  • If you refuse to take a chemical test at the police station, your license may be revoked for one year, or you may have one year of an ignition interlock restricted license.  

3rd offense within 10 years

  • Your license may be cancelled as “inimical to public safety.”
  • You may be able to have an ignition interlock device installed in order to drive but you must have three years of no detected use of alcohol and/or drugs before the device is removed.  After enrolling in treatment, you may be able to drive with a one-year limited license with an ignition interlock restriction, and upon completion of treatment, you may be able to drive for two to three years with an ignition interlock restricted license.    

4th offense + within 10 years

  • Your license is cancelled as “inimical to public safety.”
  • You must have four to six years of no detected use of alcohol and/or drugs.  After you enroll in treatment, you may obtain a one-year limited license with an ignition interlock restriction.  You may be able to drive on an ignition interlock restricted license for another three to five years upon completion of treatment.  

If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with DWI, it is imperative that you contact a knowledgeable DWI attorney as soon as possible.  Not only do you face significant criminal penalties, but you may lose your driving privileges right away. Again, the revocation times above are an indication of what is possible if you have a DWI, or multiple DWI’s, within a 10 year period. There are times when even though you are dealing with a first offense in 10 years, but if you have priors from years before, your license revocation could be affected differently than listed above.   Contact Gerald Miller, P.A. today for your free case evaluation to make sure you know how to handle your license revocation. 

 

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