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Minnesota Felony DWI

Is Minnesota’s felony DWI law the answer?  Are severe penalties the solution to alcohol-related auto injury accidents?

We have evidence that says, no.  Severe penalties aren’t the answer.  (But what about Minnesota’s Ignition Interlock program, or better public transit, and chemical dependency treatment for people suffering with addiction?) 

Apart from the public policy question, though, let’s consider a practical one.

What should you do after an arrest for Felony DUI in Minnesota?

The Best Defense

The answer is simple.  Retain the best felony DWI attorney you can find.

And Thomas Gallagher is one of the best Minnesota Felony DWI Lawyers

Attorney Thomas Gallagher knows what to do.  And he can help you.

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Contact Felony DWI Attorney Thomas Gallagher

To speak with Minneapolis Felony DWI Lawyer Thomas Gallagher, you can call:  612 333-1500

Minnesota’s Felony DWI Statute is Section 169A.24 “First-degree driving while impaired.”  Seven-years is the maximum penalty.  Even though judges rarely impose the maximum sentence, penalties can be severe.

When is a DUI a felony in Minnesota?

Minnesota law has three severity levels of crimes. Most DWI charges in Minnesota are misdemeanors, not felonies. 

So what makes a DUI charge a felony in Minnesota?  The answer is in Minnesota Statutes Section 169A.24, subd. 1:

“A person who violates section 169A.20 (driving while impaired) is guilty of first-degree driving while impaired if the person:
(1) commits the violation within ten years of the first of three or more qualified prior impaired driving incidents;
(2) has previously been convicted of a felony under this section; or
(3) has previously been convicted of a felony under:”
[criminal vehicular homicide and injury, substance-related offenses]

Minnesota Statutes Section 169A.24, subd. 1

But three or more “qualified prior impaired driving incidents” within ten years is the most common felony DWI charge.

Collateral Attack on Priors

We can look at the priors alleged by the prosecutor.  And sometimes we can get a judge to throw them out. 

If we do, the felony DWI reduces to a non-felony. 

This kind of defense is a collateral attack on priors.

Mandatory Minimum sentencing law

The DWI Mandatory Minimum sentencing statute is Minnesota Statutes Section 169A.276 “Mandatory penalties; felony violations.”  And it asks a judge to sentence a minimum of three years prison for felony DWI (first-degree).

But, though stringent, it also provides for alternatives a judge can order.

So, we seek to avoid the mandatory minimum three years prison sentence. 

But to do that, we need to take a proactive approach.

Felony DWI Defense
Felony DWI Defense

Issues in Minnesota Felony DWI Defense

Common issues in these cases include avoiding or mitigating:

  • State prison time (as opposed to county jail time)
  • Pre-trial release; Bail
  • Executed workhouse – county jail time
  • Illegal evidence
  • Felony Criminal Record
  • Car Forfeiture
  • Plate Impoundment
  • Drivers License Revocations, Cancellations; implied consent law and B-Card no-use restrictions

Time is of the Essence: Delay Can Lose Cases

After an arrest for DUI, most are aware of the court date in the criminal case.  But many are not aware of the Minnesota drivers license revocation. 

It becomes final unless challenged in 60 days or lessAnd that requires serving and filing a Petition for Judicial Review with the court within that deadline. And this applies to felony DWI cases, too.

The deadline to challenge a Minnesota DWI Plate Impoundment is also within 60 days.

DWI Vehicle Forfeitures are normally administrative.  We should challenge them within 60 days per the statute.

And the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that these deadlines are jurisdictional (no exceptions).

Therefore, a person arrested for felony DWI should seek legal counsel from a good Minnesota DWI lawyer right away. (Do not wait until the court date in the DWI criminal case approaches to do so.  That may be too late.)

Minnesota DWI frequently asked questions

Of course, avoid driving after drinking. 

See our prevention article: Countermeasures at a DWI Stop: the Party Question.

But if it’s too late for that, and police stop you; then what? 

The law changes often in this area.

So if police ask for a breath, blood or urine sample? Exercise your right to call a lawyer before giving a sample.

And be sure to request the phone after to arrange an Additional Test of your own, after theirs.

For more DWI frequently asked questions:  DWI – FAQ.

Consult with DUI Attorney Thomas Gallagher

Are you facing a Minnesota Felony DWI, related license revocation or vehicle forfeiture? Then call Attorney Thomas C Gallagher.

Minnesota Felony DUI Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher
Minnesota Felony DUI Defense Attorney Thomas Gallagher

Minnesota Felony DWI? Call Attorney Thomas Gallagher Now: 612 333-1500

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