According to a report from The Free Press, a 36-year-old Mankato woman was arrested with an alleged blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.46. For reference, that is nearly six times of the legal blood alcohol limit in Minnesota. Local law enforcement officers noted that she was driving erratically before striking a light pole.
The driver is now facing gross misdemeanor DWI charges in Blue Earth County District Court. Under Minnesota state law, a person may face enhanced drunk driving charges/penalties in certain circumstances. In this article, our Mankato DWI defense lawyers provide a brief overview of gross misdemeanor DWI charges in Minnesota.
An Overview of Gross Misdemeanor DWI Charges in Minnesota
In Minnesota, a first-time intoxicated driving offense is typically a misdemeanor. However, the charge can be enhanced to a gross misdemeanor—a more severe criminal charge—when certain aggravating factors are present. There are two different types of gross misdemeanor DWI charges under Minnesota law:
- Third Degree DWI in Minnesota: The less severe gross misdemeanor DWI offense, a person can be charged with a third degree DWI if one aggravating factor is present. Aggravating factors include a prior DWI conviction, extreme intoxication (BAC above 0.16), or having a child present in the car at the time of the arrest. The minimum mandatory penalty is 30 days in jail. Additionally, drivers convicted of a third degree DWI will face significant financial penalties and the loss of their license.
- Second Degree DWI in Minnesota: With a second degree DWI in Minnesota, prosecutors allege that two or more aggravating factors are present. The aggravating factors are the same as the ones mentioned above: prior history of drunk driving conviction, extreme intoxication, etc. This is a serious criminal offense. A conviction for a gross misdemeanor DWI in the second degree in Minnesota carries a minimum mandatory sentence of 90 days in jail. The maximum penalty is one year in jail, a $3,000 fine, and up to 6 years of probation.
All drunk driving cases should be taken seriously. Even a first-time DWI when a driver was “barely” over the legal limit can still result in significant criminal and civil liability. That being said, gross misdemeanor DWI are especially serious criminal cases. If you were arrested and charged with a third degree DWI or second degree DWI, contact a criminal defense attorney right away.
Call Our Mankato, MN Drunk Driving Defense Attorneys Today
At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Minnesota criminal defense lawyers have deep experience handling DWI cases. If you have questions about gross misdemeanor drunk driving charges, we can help. Give us a call at 507-625-5000 or use our online contact form to schedule a confidential initial consultation. We have law offices in Mankato and Rochester from which we serve communities throughout Southern Minnesota.