Minnesota DWI Laws: Overview

What happens after a DWI arrest in Minnesota?

  1. Motor Vehicle Hearing: To preserve your right to drive in Minnesota, you must request a hearing within 30 days after your license has been taken from you by an officer or within the time set by the Department of Public Safety in a revocation letter. A hearing must be initially scheduled within 60 days. (In Hennepin County, if you had a valid license when stopped, you may qualify for a temporary license to drive until the hearing. You will be mailed a notice of the hearing about three weeks after your request. You can plan on at least 45 days of driving.) If you lose at the hearing, your license revocation will remain on your record. It is our opinion you should demand the officer's presence at the hearing. Crucial defenses can be developed at the hearing.
  2. Arraignment: This is the date on your ticket, about 30 to 60 days after your arrest. If you have an attorney, you may not have to appear. It is primarily for advisement of rights. If you have an attorney, he will advise you outside of court.
  3. Pre­trial Conference: Your attorney will discuss your case with the Prosecutor and negotiate the best possible plea bargain. It will happen about 6 weeks after arraignment. This is usually after the Motor Vehicle Hearing. The date is set by the Court and your attorney on his calendar.
  4. Suppression Hearing: The Court may suppress some or all of the evidence against you if your constitutional rights have been violated. I will file motions to suppress. It usually occurs anywhere 6 weeks to 3 months after the pre­trial conference.
  5. Trial: You are entitled to a trial to a jury of six. In some cases, it may be beneficial to have a trial in front of a judge in a court trial.
  6. Sentencing: The Court imposes a sentence after a conviction at trial or after a plea bargain is accepted and a plea entered. Sentences may include jail time, in home detention, community work service, alcohol classes and fines.

Will I lose my Driver’s License after a DWI in Minnesota?

Yes. Whenever the implied consent law can be invoked during the arrest process, your driver’s license can be withdrawn immediately following any test failure or test refusal.   You are then given a seven-day temporary license to drive before the withdrawal becomes effective.

The following License Suspensions apply:

1st DWI Offense with no aggravating factors: 90 days (reducible to

30 days upon DWI conviction for a first time offender)

Under Age 21: 6 months, if violator is under age 21

2nd DWI Offense within 10 years: 180 days,

Double the applicable period above, if the person was arrested with a BAC of .20 or more or while having a child under age 16 in the vehicle

Refusal to submit to a chemical test of blood, breath, or urine: 1 Year (reducible to 90 days upon DWI conviction for a first-time violation)

3rd DWI Offense or More within 10 years: Cancelled and denied indefinitely as inimical to public safety, pending treatment and rehabilitation for a third or more impaired driving incident within a ten-year period.

Additionally, the person may appeal the administrative license revocation, either administratively to DPS and/or judicially through the court. 

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

Additional Drunk Driving Articles

Search LawInfo's Drunk Driving Resources

Lead Counsel Rated Law Firm

Click Here to Learn More