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DWI Degrees

Fourth Degree DWI (169A.27)

DWI degrees. Fourth Degree DWI is the least severe DWI charge in Minnesota. It is a misdemeanor, which means that the maximum sentence is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. As an alternative to a full 90 days in jail, a court can impose up to two years of supervised probation.

Second Degree DWI (169A.25)

Second Degree DWI is also a gross misdemeanor. However, unlike third-degree DWI, second-degree DWI carries the potential for forfeiture of the vehicle.

Test refusal is a second-degree offense if there is one aggravating factor. An under-the-influence or over-the-limit charge is a second-degree offense if there are two aggravating factors.

Third Degree DWI (169A.26)

Third Degree DWI is a gross misdemeanor, which means that the maximum sentence is one year in jail and a fine of $3,000. As an alternative to a full year in jail, a court can impose up to six years of supervised probation.

Test refusal is at least a third-degree offense. An under-the-influence or over-the-limit charge is a third-degree offense if there is one aggravating factor. Aggravating factors are:

  • a qualified prior impaired driving incident in the previous 10 years (It is important to note that this means either a DWI conviction or an alcohol-related loss of license. This means that a case in which the criminal charge was “pled down” to careless driving counts if the person’s license was revoked);
  • an alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more (prior to July 1, 2015, the threshold for an aggravating factor had been 0.20); or
  • a child under the age of 16 in the car (unless the driver is 36 months or fewer older than the child).

First Degree DWI (169A.24)

First Degree DWI is a felony, and can carry a penalty of up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $14,000. In addition, a prison sentence for felony DWI must include an additional conditional release period of five years.

A DWI is a felony if the person:

  • has three or more qualified prior impaired driving incidents in the past ten years;
  • has a previous felony DWI conviction; or
  • has a prior felony conviction for certain criminal vehicular operation or homicide crimes.

If you have been charged with a DWI, contact us at 612-333-7309 to discuss your case.

If you are facing a criminal charge, you need professional, personal representation. Our team of attorneys will offer you Straight Talk and Honest Answers about your case.


This website is designed for general information only. Nothing on this website should be construed as formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer-client relationship.

Law Offices of F. Clayton Tyler | TriTech Office Center | 331 Second Avenue South, Suite 230 | Minneapolis, MN 55401

612.333.7309  |  1.888.333.7309