Annual report reveals information on Minnesota DUI conviction rate

A recent report details the DWI conviction rate in Minnesota as well as important information about multiple offenders.

Every year, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety releases information regarding drunk driving in the state. The report typically includes data surrounding items such as the demographics of people involved, arrest numbers and conviction rates. The department just released the information for 2015, according to a report from MPR News.

Though some of the information seems arbitrary, such as the times of year when the most DWI arrests occur, the report does highlight important facts. For example, the numbers clearly illustrate that arrests do not always end in a conviction. Further, it calls attention to how prevalent multiple drunk driving offenses are.

Conviction rates

One of the most intriguing aspects of the report is the difference in conviction rates from county to county across Minnesota. MPR points out the following information:

  • In Pipestone and Murray counties, the conviction rate is 47 percent.
  • In Kanabec County, the rate is 54 percent.
  • Cook County has a 96 percent conviction rate, with Wilkin County at 93 percent and Watonwan County at 90 percent.

The actual report notes that in 2015, there were 25,027 arrests made citing drunk driving charges. Of those, the state's overall conviction rate was 72.1 percent. This is an important number for many people facing a DUI charge who may believe their case to be hopeless. Clearly, not all arrests will end in a conviction, because law enforcement officers make mistakes and evidence does not always equate to someone's guilt.

Multiple offenders

Another interesting aspect of the report details multiple offenders. Of the people who were arrested on DUI charges last year, 40 percent had at least one prior charge. Of that 40 percent, nearly half will have a subsequent DWI charge.

The reason this should catch the eye is because Minnesota takes a harsh stance against people who have second and subsequent DWI convictions. Under state law, a fourth DUI incident over the course of 10 years is automatically considered a felony that can carry with it up to seven years in prison.

Further, an initial DUI conviction or even just a license revocation will count as an aggravating factor in any subsequent offense, which can enhance the penalties someone may face. For example, someone charged with a DWI who has a prior conviction or revocation will automatically face a third degree charge, which is a gross misdemeanor that can result in up to one year in jail.

Any DWI case presents an opportunity for someone to lose driving privileges or freedom. This further illustrates the need to work with a legal professional experienced in handling DWI cases. Anyone who has concerns about this topic should speak with a Minnesota DWI defense attorney immediately after being charged.