When is a DWI a felony in Minnesota?
There are three levels of DWI in Minnesota—misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony. How is the level of a DWI determined?
Typically, a first-time DWI in Minnesota is classified as a misdemeanor—which means up to 90 days in jail. A second or third offense in 10 years is typically a gross misdemeanor—which means up to one year in jail. However, there are three instances where a DWI in Minnesota can be charged as a felony, First-Degree DWI—which could result in up to 7 years in prison. These situations are as follows:
- You have had three prior alcohol-related incidents within the past ten years in Minnesota or another state,
- You have a prior felony DWI in Minnesota, or
- You have a prior felony criminal vehicular homicide or criminal vehicular injury conviction in Minnesota that involved alcohol or drugs.
Prior alcohol-related incidents include a prior conviction for a DWI or a license revocation related to a DWI offense. If you are charged with a DWI and any of the above three conditions are met—based on your criminal record or driving record—you could be charged with a felony-level DWI instead of a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor DWI. If convicted of a felony DWI, you could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison and/or pay a fine of up to $14,000.