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In some situations, driving while impaired in Minnesota is a felony. The level of charge depends on whether the driver has any previous DWI convictions or whether anyone was harmed because the driver got behind the wheel while under the influence. The conviction penalties for a felony DWI are much steeper than those imposed for a misdemeanor offense. The driver may be subject to years of imprisonment (with mandatory minimums), tens of thousands of dollars in fines, and a lengthy driver's license revocation period. If you have been charged with a felony DWI in St. Paul, your rights and future are on the line. Therefore, it is crucial to turn to a skilled DUI attorney to defend you.
At Rogosheske, Rogosheske & Atkins, PLLC, we are aware of the significant impacts a felony DWI conviction in St. Paul, MN, can have on your life. That is why we are prepared to do everything in our legal power to seek a favorable result on your behalf. Our team recognizes that several factors can lead to a DUI accusation, some of which have nothing to do with being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. We also know that overzealous law enforcement officials can sometimes make unlawful traffic stops or arrests, which can invalidate the evidence collected. Whatever the circumstances surrounding your arrest, we will thoroughly investigate your case to determine how to develop a robust defense for you.
Before discussing instances in which a DWI can be charged as a felony, let us first review what driving while impaired is. According to Minnesota Statutes § 169A.20 a person commits the offense when they are in control of a moving or parked vehicle while under the influence.
Specifically, the law provides that a person is impaired when they:
- Have an alcohol concentration of 0.08 or more,
- Are under the influence of alcohol, a controlled substance, or intoxicating substance, or
- Have any amount of a Schedule I or II drug in their system
What Is a Felony DWI in Minnesota?
As mentioned earlier, several circumstances exist in which a person may be charged with a felony DWI.
Previous DWI Convictions
A felony DWI in Minnesota can be levied when the driver has one or more prior driving while impaired convictions.
A person may be charged with a felony DWI when they were previously convicted of:
- A felony DWI violation,
- A felony criminal vehicular operation violation resulting in injury or death, or
- Three DWI violations or three or more qualified prior impaired driving incidents (Minn. Stat. 169.03, subdivisions 20-22) in the past 10 years.
When a person has previous driving under the influence convictions as listed above, the offense is referred to as a first-degree DWI.
Criminal Vehicular Operation Violations
Another way a person may be charged with felony DWI is if they operated a vehicle while impaired and they caused harm to another person.
The specific criminal vehicular operation offenses are as follows:
- Causing great bodily harm (Minnesota Statutes § 609.2113)
- Causing substantial bodily harm (Minnesota Statutes § 609.2113)
- Causing death (Minnesota Statutes § 609.2112)
Being charged with a felony-level DWI under any circumstances is serious. At Rogosheske, Rogosheske & Atkins, PLLC, our St. Paul felony DWI attorneys will provide the legal representation you need, regardless of the charge you are facing.
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The punishments a driver can face upon a conviction depend on the facts of their case.
Below are potential penalties for felony-level DWI convictions:
- First-degree DWI:
- Up to 7 years of imprisonment
- Minimum of 180 days in jail
- Up to $14,000 in fines
- Conditional release for 5 years
- Driver's license revocation for 4 years
- CVO substantial bodily harm:
- Up to 3 years of imprisonment
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Driver's license revocation for 2 years
- CVO great bodily harm:
- Up to 5 years of imprisonment
- Up to $10,000 in fines
- Driver's license revocation for 5 years
- CVO homicide:
- Up to 10 years of imprisonment
- Up to $20.000 in fines
- Driver's license revocation for 6 years
If you want to seek to avoid or minimize the penalties of a DWI conviction, you need aggressive defense on your side. Our felony DWI lawyers in St. Paul will fight relentlessly for you throughout your case.
Get Legal Help Fighting Your Felony DWI Charge
Navigating a DUI case is tricky, which is why handling yours without a skilled attorney on your side can be detrimental. At Rogosheske, Rogosheske & Atkins, PLLC, we are prepared to stand up for you and guide you through every stage of your case.