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  • DUI & DWI in Minnesota

    Minnesota DUI & DWI

    Impaired driving, or driving while impaired (DWI/DUI), is a serious offense in Minnesota. If you are arrested for a DWI or other alcohol-related driving offenses, you may face both criminal and administrative penalties.

    The Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), a division of the MN Department of Public Safety (DPS), handles the administrative penalties for DWIs and impaired driving offenses.

    Your penalties will vary by the number of DWI offenses you’ve committed and the severity of the violation, but you’ll typically face fines, jail time, a driver’s license suspension, and driving restrictions.

    On this page you’ll find an overview of the definitions of DWI offenses, criminal and administrative offenses, and the steps you may need to take to regain your driving privileges.

    MN DWI & Impaired Driving Definitions

    In Minnesota, the legal blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08%; however, you can be arrested and charged with a DWI for a BAC of:

    • Less than 0.08%, depending on the circumstances of the violation.
    • 0.04% if you are driving a commercial vehicle.
    • Less than 0.08% if you are underage.

    NOTE: You can also face criminal and Minnesota DPS administrative penalties for refusing to take a BAC/breathalyzer test when stopped on suspicion of a DWI or impaired driving.

    DWI & Impaired Driving Penalties in Minnesota

    When you are arrested for a DWI/DUI or impaired driving, you will likely face both criminal penalties in court AND administrative penalties with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety (OTS).

    The penalties you face will typically be harsher if you have a higher BAC, if you have child in the car, and if anyone was hurt.

    The criminal penalties you may face in court for a 1st offense of a DWI will vary depending on your BAC.

    • For a BAC of under 0.20%, you will be charged with a misdemeanor and possibly face:
      • Up to 90 days in jail.
        AND/OR
      • A $1,000 fine.
    • For a BAC of 0.20% or over, you will be charged with a gross misdemeanor and possibly face:
      • Up to 1 year in jail.
        AND/OR
      • A $3,000 fine.
    • If you refuse to take a BAC test, you may be charged with a gross misdemeanor and face:
      • Up to 1 year in jail.
        AND/OR
      • A $1,000 fine.

    The Minnesota DPS administrative penalties you may face for a 1st offense of a DWI/DUI will also vary depending on your BAC and the circumstances of the violation.

    • For a BAC of under 0.16%, you may face:
      • A driver's license suspension of up to 90 days, which may be carried out as either:
        • 15 days of no driving and limited driving privileges for the remainder.
          OR
        • Full driving privileges with an ignition interlock system. (See "Ignition Interlock in Minnesota" below.)
        OR
      • A driver's license suspension of up 30 days, if you plead guilty to a DUI/DWI in court.
    • For a BAC of 0.16% or over, you may face:
      • A driver’s license suspension of up to 1 year OR an ignition interlock requirement for up to 1 year.
      • Impounded license plates.
      • Impounded vehicle.
    • If you refuse to take a BAC test, you may face a MN driver’s license suspension of up to 1 year, which may be carried out as either:
      • 15 days of no driving and limited driving privileges for the remainder
        OR
      • Full driving privileges with an ignition interlock system. (See "Ignition Interlock in Minnesota" below.)

    Subsequent DWI/DUI and impaired driving offenses will result in longer potential jail time, higher fines, longer driver’s license suspensions, and harsher penalties.

    For a complete list of the criminal and administrative penalties you may face for subsequent DWIs, please visit the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) website.

    If you need to check the status of your driving record or want to see which offenses remain on your record, please visit our Driving Records in Minnesota page.

    Underage Drinking and Driving

    If you are younger than 21 years old, you may receive a DWI or drinking and driving offense if you are caught driving with a BAC of less than 0.08%.

    The criminal and administrative penalties you may face for your first offense include:

    • Fines of $700 to $3,000.
    • Up to 90 days or 1 year in jail.
    • A driver’s license suspension of at least 30 days.

    DWI and underage drinking and driving offenses will remain on your driving record for at least 15 years.

    Depending on the severity of your offense, you blood-alcohol concentration, and the number of times you have committed an alcohol-related offense, your penalties may be harsher.

    Ignition Interlock in Minnesota

    An ignition interlock device connects to your vehicle’s ignition system and does not allow you to start your car if your BAC is over a certain limit.

    You may have the option to have an ignition interlock device installed to be able to drive during your Minnesota driver’s license suspension period.

    You may be required to have an ignition interlock device installed in your vehicle if you:

    • Committed a DWI for the 1st time with a BAC of 0.16% or higher.
    • Committed a DWI for the 2nd time.
    • Committed 3 DWIs or more in 10 years.

    Depending on the number of DWI/DUI offenses you’ve committed, you must keep the ignition interlock device in your car for 1 year to 6 years.

    For more information about ignition interlock devices and your driving privileges, please contact the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) or visit the ignition interlock page on the DPS website.

    Reinstating Your Minnesota Driver’s License

    After you have completed both your court requirements and your Minnesota DPS administrative requirements resulting from your DUI charge, you’ll need to reinstate your driver’s license.

    While your requirements may vary depending on your specific circumstances and the severity of your DUI, to reinstate your MN driver’s license, you’ll generally need to:

    • Pay a $680 reinstatement fee.
    • Pass a DWI knowledge test.
    • Complete a Minnesota driver’s license application and pay the appropriate fees.
    • Complete a chemical health assessment program.

    For more information about regaining your driving privileges, please visit our Suspended License in Minnesota page.

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