Not all drunk driving charges are the same, and there are certain factors that can influence how you are charged if you are caught driving while intoxicated. We’ve talked about aggravating DWI factors on the blog in the past, which include having a previous DWI within the last 10 years or having a minor in the vehicle at the time of your arrest, but today we’re going to focus on the most common factor that leads to upgraded DWI charges – your BAC level.
But how does your blood alcohol concentration affect your criminal charge? We take a closer look at how your BAC level can impact your DWI charge in today’s blog.
BAC Level And Your DWI Charge
In Minnesota, your blood alcohol concentration is considered an aggravating factor. Because it is inherently more dangerous to drive with an extremely high BAC, lawmakers wanted to come down harsher on individuals who are caught with very high blood alcohol concentrations. Previously, the standard was that any person with a BAC above 0.20 (or 2.5 times the legal limit) could have their criminal charge upgraded from a Fourth Degree DWI to a Third Degree DWI. In 2015, that threshold was lower to 0.16, or twice the legal limit.
This means that if you blow a 0.16 or above on a breathalyzer test, you may face an upgraded DWI charge. A Fourth Degree DWI charge is a misdemeanor offense, which is punishable by up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000. If your charge is upgraded to a Third Degree DWI because of your BAC, you’ll be facing a gross misdemeanor charge. Under Minnesota law, a gross misdemeanor is punishable by up to a year in prison and fines up to $3,000, so it’s a pretty big jump in terms of potential penalties.
Regardless of whether or not your DWI was upgraded to a gross misdemeanor or even a felony, you’ll want to reach out to a DWI lawyer. Breathalyzer tests can be incredibly inaccurate, and you’ll want to make sure that any suspect evidence is appropriately challenged in court. You won’t know the best way to do this, but your lawyer will. Let us worry about building a strong defense while you focus on your family and your job as the case plays out.
You should always take stock of your alcohol consumption, especially if you want to be able to drive home later, but just remember that getting extremely intoxicated will put you at risk for upgraded charges. Being heavily intoxicated also increases your risk of getting in an accident, which can lead to injuries, death and years behind bars. Make a smart choice and avoid driving if you’re even questioning if you’re over the limit.
If you or someone you know runs into trouble and ends up getting a DWI, know that you have options. Connect with a criminal defense lawyer and let us go to bat for you. We can help you beat the charges, get them reduced or avoid a worst case scenario. For more information, or to set up a free case review session, reach out to Avery and the team at Appelman Law Firm today at (952) 224-2277.