Like most crimes, a person can face a serious offense if certain factors were present during the commission of a crime. For example, in a robbery, if the burglar has a weapon or threatens physical harm, they’ll usually face an upgraded felony or gross misdemeanor charge.
The same can be said for DWI. If certain circumstances exist at the time of your arrest, your charge may be upgraded from a misdemeanor offense to a gross misdemeanor or even a felony offense. Today, we take a look at what factors can enhance your DWI charge in Minnesota.
Upgraded DWI Charges
Before we get into what factors can lead to an upgraded DWI charge, let’s take a look at the basics of a DWI in Minnesota. If you are pulled over and arrested for a basic DWI, you will be charged with 4th Degree Driving While Intoxicated, which is a misdemeanor offense here in Minnesota. That means you can face up to 90 days in jail, fines up to $1,000, and the loss of your driver’s license for a set period of time.
Those are the punishments for a basic DWI, and here are the factors that can upgrade the charge.
- Having a previous DWI on your criminal record within the last 10 years.
- Having a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of the arrest.
- Having a blood alcohol content above 0.16.
If one aggravating factor is present, you will be charged with 3rd Degree Driving While Intoxicated, which is a gross misdemeanor in Minnesota. Aside from potentially stronger license restrictions, you can also face fines up to $3,000 and up to one year in jail.
If you have a previous DUI on your record and one aggravating factor is present, or this is your first offense but two aggravating factors are present, you can be charged with 2nd Degree DWI, which is also a gross misdemeanor offense.
If you’ve had multiple DWIs in the past and more than one aggravating factor is present, the state may decide to charge you with 1st Degree DWI, which is a felony offense, punishable by multiple years in prison and up to $14,000 in fines.
Regardless of whether it’s your first offense and it’s a basic DWI, or you’re facing an upgraded charge, your best bet is to hire an experienced lawyer to help with your case. We can find holes in the police’s version of events or work with the prosecution to help broker a fair deal. For more information, or to set up a free consultation with our team, click here or give us a call at (952) 224-2277.