Driving While Impaired – The Basics

by Derek Thooft

In the state of Minnesota, Driving While Impaired (DWI) is defined as driving operating, or having physical control of a motor vehicle while:

  • Under the influence of alcohol or drugs,

  • Knowingly under the influence of a hazardous substance that affects the body and substantially impairs driving abilities

  • Having a blood alcohol concentration (BAC of .08% or greater)

  • Having any amount of a Schedule I or II drug except marijuana, in the body

There are four degrees of DWI charges in Minnesota, from fourth degree (misdemeanor), to first-degree (felony). The majority of first offenders are charged with a fourth degree DWI.

However, there are several factors that can increase a DWI charge, such as the following:

  • Including a BAC above 0.16

  • A child under the age of 16 in the vehicle

  • Prior DWI offenses within the past 10 years

A DWI arrest may result in fines, license revocation, license plate impoundment, vehicle forfeiture, and possible jail time. It’s possible to avoid these penalties if you know your rights, which is why it is so important to know what happens during and after a DWI arrest. That is where Thooft Law can be helpful.

After you have been arrested you will most likely be subjected to roadside sobriety tests, and then station questioning. If you are a first-time DWI offender, you will most likely be released that day, if you’re cooperative, and once you become sober or have a sober driver come pick you up. However, an officer could still decide to book you into custody.

If you are booked, the court will schedule a date for your arraignment. An arraignment is the initial hearing following your arrest. At the arraignment, the court will read your charges and ask for your plea (guilty or not guilty).

At Thooft Law, we are happy to walk you through this process. We understand these are personal matters and we want to ensure that you and your family feel confident in the plan you have in place if this were to happen to you. Our team has helped clients in many different situations and can help you, your business, or your family as well. Call us or email ThooftLaw@gmail.com. Check us out on Facebook, Thooft Law, LLC.