How much does a DWI arrest in Minnesota cost?

There are often overlooked penalties associated with DWIs that may hit people in the wallet and keep them paying well after their arrests.

In 2015, there were 25,027 driving while intoxicated arrests across Minnesota, according to the state's Department of Public Safety. When people are charged with drunk driving, the possibility of jail is often the consequence they are most concerned with. However, there are numerous other potential penalties they may also face, the costs of which may mount quickly. In order to help avoid paying for a DWI long after their arrest, it is important for people to understand the expenses associated with alcohol-related offenses.

Criminal fines

Aside from the possibility of imprisonment, the court may also sentence those convicted of DWI to pay fines. The amount they may be required to pay varies depending on factors such as the driver's blood alcohol concentration level and prior record.

With no previous DWI convictions and a BAC level of less than 0.16 percent, people may be fined $1,000. The fine for drunk driving may be increased to $3,000 for those with BAC levels of 0.16 percent or higher, who had children in the car at the time of their arrest, or who have up to two prior DWI convictions. If they have been convicted of such alcohol-related offenses three times previously or more, drivers may be ordered to pay a fine of $14,000.

Driver's license reinstatement fees

At any BAC level, people who are arrested for drunk driving may lose their driving privileges. Not being able to drive may be a major inconvenience, but getting their rights restored may be a major expense. To get their driver's licenses back after their suspension periods are up, people must pass a DWI knowledge exam and pay an application fee. Additionally, they are subject to a $680 reinstatement fee.

Chemical assessment and treatment

Upon a pleading guilty to or being convicted of DWI, people must often undergo a chemical use assessment. Judges consider the results of this testing when determining the type and duration of treatment to order for the drivers. In addition to paying an assessment charge of $25 to the court, people are also responsible for the costs of their evaluations and treatment programs. Alcohol treatment expenses may vary depending on the length of the program, the facility or organization providing the treatment, and other factors.

Ignition interlock devices

If people have a BAC level of 0.16 or higher, have a child in the car when they are stopped, or have been previously convicted of DWI, they may be ordered to install ignition interlock devices on any vehicles they operate. Based on their prior record and offense level, they may be required to use these devices for anywhere from one to three years. On top of paying to have ignition interlocks installed in their vehicles, drivers are also generally subject to a monthly monitoring fee. These may range from $2 per day or more.

Obtaining legal counsel

The fees, fines and other expenses associated with a DWI in Minnesota may add up quickly. Thus, people may be plagued by the consequences of drunk driving charges well after they are arrested. It may be of benefit for those who have been charged with such alcohol-related offenses to work with a legal representative. A lawyer may explain their rights and options, as well as work to limit the long-term implications of their arrests.