There are four degrees of DWIs in Minnesota. First degree is a felony (link to felony definition), second and third degrees are gross misdemeanors, and a fourth-degree DWI is a misdemeanor. A DWI can become a felony first degree DWI under the following circumstances:

You will be charged with a first-degree (felony) DWI under Minnesota Statute § 169A.24 if:

  1. The violation occurs within ten years of the first of three or more qualified prior impaired driving incidents (insert link to this definition)
  2. You have previously been convicted of a felony DWI; or
  3. You have previously been convicted of a certain felony criminal vehicular homicide or criminal vehicular operation involving a controlled substance.

If you are convicted of first-degree DWI you may be sentenced to imprisonment for up to seven years, payment of a fine up to $14,000, or both, and in some cases, the court must sentence you to a mandatory minimum of three years in prison. Just as with any DWI, in addition to the criminal penalties, you could also face driver’s license revocation/cancellation, license plate impoundment, and vehicle forfeiture.