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Aggravating Factors

A Minnesota DWI is an “enhanceable” offense, meaning that certain aggravating factors make a Minnesota drunk driving charge more serious. The number of aggravating factors present in any Minnesota DWI offense determines the degree of that particular drunk driving violation. The higher the degree of DWI, the harsher the penalties, and the more important it is to contact a criminal defense attorney.

Minnesota DWI law defines aggravating factors as any one, or combination, of the following:

  • A blood alcohol content  of .20 or more
  • The presence of a child under the age of 16 in the motor vehicle at the time of the offense
  • A prior impaired driving conviction or alcohol related driver’s license revocation  within the ten years directly preceding the current DWI offense

Any of these factors will result in a higher “degree” of DWI. The following chart depicts the Minnesota DWI degrees with the corresponding number of aggravating factors needed for each degree:

Aggravating Factors of a DUI

For example: if you are issued your first DWI, but your blood alcohol content is .21 (an aggravating factor), the appropriate charge would be a third degree gross misdemeanor DWI.
The higher the degree of your DWI charge, the greater the consequences that accompany the offense. DWI charges, no matter what the degree, are very serious. Don’t expect to get off lightly. Have a Minnesota DWI defense attorney look at your case and help you construct a strategy for success.