Felony First Degree Driving While Impaired (DWI) Charges – Minnesota
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In 2001, the Minnesota legislature enacted the Felony DWI law for certain repeat DWI offenders. Prior to the felony DWI law being enacted, repeated DWI convictions and alcohol related loss of license could never result in anything more than a gross misdemeanor DWI. Therefore, there was never any risk of being sentenced for more than 365 days in jail, regardless of how many prior DWI DUI convictions or incidents someone may have had. However, since felony driving while impaired became a chargeable offense in Minnesota, certain repeat DWI offenders facing first degree felony DWI charges are subject to a minimum sentence of three years in prison.
In order to be charged for felony DWI, one of the following must exist:
- Three prior “qualified prior impaired diving incidents” within the previous ten years. A “qualified prior impaired driving incident” can include prior alcohol related criminal convictions, including alcohol or controlled substance related criminal vehicular operation, driving a motor vehicle while impaired, and impaired operation of an aircraft, as well as operating a snowmobile, ATV, or boat, regardless of whether the convictions occurred in Minnesota or another state. A prior impaired driving incident also includes prior alcohol related driver’s license revocations, cancellations, and disqualifications, even if there was no criminal conviction related to the loss of license;
- A prior felony DWI conviction, regardless of when the person was convicted of the felony DWI; or
- A prior felony criminal vehicular operation or vehicular homicide conviction, if that conviction was the result of being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or another hazardous substance.
Sentence for Felony DWI conviction:
In addition to your Minnesota driver’s license being cancelled and seizure of your vehicle, a felony DWI conviction can result in a prison sentence between three and seven years, or a fine $14,000, or both. In Minnesota, a sentence for a felony conviction is governed by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines, which takes into account the seriousness of the felony and the criminal history of the convicted person. However, judges are given certain discretionary sentencing options for felony DWI convictions that may reduce the actual time served to well below the mandatory three year minimum. Therefore, even if you are convicted of felony DWI, it is vitally important for you to have an aggressive and experienced criminal DWI lawyer like Coley J. Grostyan on your side, fighting for the least restrictive sentence possible.
Minnesota DWI lawyer Coley J. Grostyan is always accessible and responds to the needs of his clients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For confidential and personal service, tenacious and professional representation, and a free initial consultation, contact Coley Grostyan today at 612-747-2254.
Coley Grostyan represents individuals charged with 1st degree felony DWI, and all other impaired driving related charges in the Twin Cities Minneapolis/St. Paul Area, and all across the State of Minnesota.