Driving drunk is always a poor decision, but the issue is amplified even more when you have passengers in the vehicle at the time of your arrest, especially if these passengers are your children. If you’re arrested for drunk driving with your kids or other minors in the vehicle, you’ll face upgraded DWI charges and the possibility of enhanced penalties. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at the charges and penalties associated with getting a DWI with children in the car in Minnesota.
Drunk Driving With Kids In The Car
A DWI is already a serious criminal matter before you involve children in the situation, so it’s not something the law takes lightly. If you are arrested for DWI and there are children under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of the incident, you will be charged with third or second degree driving while intoxicated. The reason your charge will be upgraded from a standard fourth degree DWI is because having minors in the vehicle at the time of the arrest is considered an aggravating factor.
If having a minor in the vehicle during your DWI stop was the only aggravating factor present, you’ll be charged with third degree DWI. If another aggravating factor is also present, you’ll be charged with second degree DWI. Those other aggravating factors include:
- Having a BAC over 0.16
- Having a previous DWI conviction on your record within the last 10 years.
For now, let’s assume having children in the vehicle was the only aggravating factor present during your arrest. You would be charged with third degree DWI, which is a gross misdemeanor. This charge is punishable by up to a year in jail and fines up to $3,000. The minimum fine is supposed to be $900, but judges have the discretion to impose a fine that is appropriate for the situation.
Additionally, Minnesota law requires that anyone charged with third degree DWI with a minor in the vehicle post maximum bail in the amount of $12,000 or be released into a continuous alcohol monitoring program while their case is pending. Continuous alcohol monitoring costs anywhere from $50-$100 a week, so it’s not going to be cheap to secure your release while you await trial.
If other aggravating factors are present, you may find yourself charged with second degree DWI. A second degree DWI is handled much like a third degree DWI in that it is a gross misdemeanor with the possibility of up to a year in jail and fines up to $3,000. However, you may also face a mandatory jail sentence of 30 days (48 hours in jail and the rest on house arrest) if you have a previous DWI on your record. If you have two previous DWIs, that mandatory minimum jumps up to 90 days, with at least 30 being served in jail. Police can also seize the vehicle that was used during the commission of the crime more easily.
Needless to say, you’ll be in a lot of trouble if you get a DWI with a child in the vehicle, so make smart choices anytime minors are in the vehicle with you. One bad decision could cost you for the rest of your life. We can help you out of a sticky situation, so if you need assistance reach out to the team at Appelman Law Firm today at (952) 224-2277.