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Second Degree DWI

Second Degree DWI


In Minnesota, Second Degree DWI is a gross misdemeanor offense that is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a $3,000 fine.  The minimum fine is supposed to be $900 plus a surcharge of approximately $80.  However, in practice, judges often impose an executed fine less than $900. 


Second Degree DWI is defined as a DWI incident where at least two aggravating factors are present, i.e., having one or two prior DWI convictions or license revocations within 10 years, having an alcohol concentration of 0.16 or more, or having a child under age 16 in the vehicle. 


If a defendant has one prior DWI conviction or DWI license revocation within 10 years, there is a mandatory minimum executed sentence of 30 days to serve.  Of those 30 days, the court may allow the defendant to serve all but 48 hours on house arrest (electronic home monitoring). In some counties, house arrest is commonly imposed, and in other counties, it is not an an available option. Thus, avoiding significant time in jail depends on the particular circumstances of the case. If a defendant was ordered to serve 30 days in jail, the defendant would serve 20 actual days in jail after receiving good time credit. 


If a defendant has two prior DWI convictions or DWI license revocations within 10 years, there is a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days to serve. Of the 90 days, the mandatory minimum sentence is 30 days to serve in jail and 60 days to serve on house arrest (electronic home monitoring). If a judge will not authorize house arrest, a defendant will serve the 90-day sentence in jail.  With good time, a 90-day jail sentence would be 60 actual days in jail.


Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, a defendant arrested for suspected Second Degree DWI faces mandatory bail of $12,000 or continuous alcohol monitoring via a SCRAM ankle bracelet or an Alcosensor breath machine that a defendant has to blow into three times per day. 


Charges of Second Degree DWI trigger potential vehicle forfeiture. That is to say, the arresting police agency has authority to forfeit a defendant's vehicle -- even if the vehicle isn't owned by the defendant. 


If a defendant does not have a prior DWI conviction or DWI license revocation within 10 years or within his or her lifetime and the facts of the case are more routine,  the defendant may be able to reduce the charge of Second Degree DWI to Third Degree DWI, Fourth Degree DWI, or even a non-DWI offense in exceptional cases. The ability to negotiate a reduction depends on several factors, including the driving conduct, one's criminal/driving record, the jurisdiction where it occurred, and the presence of potential defenses in the case.  


If a defendant is convicted of Second Degree DWI, the court will place the defendant on probation typically for 2 to 6 years. The typical conditions of probation are to remain law abiding and successfully complete a chemical dependency assessment and follow its recommended educational or treatment program. In addition, Judges usually order a defendant to complete a two-hour victim impact panel offered by MADD. Depending on the facts of the case and where it occurred, a judge may order a defendant to abstain from the use of alcohol and drugs during probation and be subject to random testing.


For information about the driver's license consequences of Second Degree DWI, please visit our DWI license revocation page.

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