Short answer: yes. Minnesota law calls for mandatory minimum sentences in specific situations involving drunk driving charges. But with proper legal representation, it may be possible to significantly reduce the negative consequences.
Generally, mandatory minimums apply when someone is convicted of DWI more than once within 10 years. The penalties increase for each subsequent offense.
If you are convicted of DWI a second time within 10 years, then you will face 30 days of incarceration. Depending on the circumstances, though, not all of that time has to be spent in jail. The law requires that second-time DWI offenders spend at least 48 hours in jail, but it is possible to serve the remainder of the sentence by doing eight hours of community service for each of the remaining 28 days.
Again, though, it is important to have an experienced DWI defense attorney on your side to fight for the best possible outcome. Reduced sentences do not happen automatically.
Following are the mandatory minimum sentences for subsequent DWI convictions in Minnesota:
- Third conviction within 10 years: 90-day sentence, with a minimum of 30 days in jail
- Fourth conviction within 10 years: 180-day sentence, also with a minimum of 30 days in jail
- Fifth conviction within 10 years: one-year sentence, with a minimum of 60 days in jail
The court may also order that you serve the non-jail portion of your sentence under house arrest.
It should be noted that separate penalties apply when a person is convicted of DWI involving injury or death.
To learn more, please see Sheridan & Dulas’ overview of DWI penalties and how to avoid them.