While a first offense Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charge may not be indicative of a trend or even cause any harm, it can still leave a permanent mark on your record alongside other serious penalties. Without a lawyer, these penalties can far outweigh the crime, resulting in jail time and high fines. If you have been arrested for your first DWI ever, or just your first DWI in ten years, you will want a criminal defense attorney to ensure you get the minimum possible charge.
Penalties for a First Offense DWI
The penalties associated with a first time DWI offense can vary depending on circumstances such as Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), whether or not there were any injuries, and if there were children in the vehicle. These are considered aggravating factors. If you are found to have a BAC of over 0.16, you are likely to see worse penalties due to the extreme level of intoxication.
First offense DWIs are often fourth-degree DWIs, meaning there were no aggravating factors such as high BAC or prior convictions. A DWI with aggravating factors can raise the charge to a third- or second- degree DWI, or a gross misdemeanor. This means greater penalties and even more need for a good DWI attorney. Aggravating FactorsWhile aggravating factors have been touched on, it’s important to understand what exactly counts as an aggravating factor.
In the state of Minnesota, DWI penalties can be increased for having a BAC over 0.16, prior convictions, driving with a child in the car, or refusing a chemical test. The last of that list is actually a criminal offense, due to Minnesota’s implied consent law. Any of these factors are likely to increase penalties, but refusing a chemical test is guaranteed to increase charges. The best way to mitigate these charges is by having a strong defense. Further RamificationsA DWI can hurt more than just your personal driver’s license and your wallet, it can hurt your employability.
Even a first-offense DWI can lead to the revocation or reduced ability to obtain a commercial driver’s license. If part of your job requires driving you may lose your job or see a significant wage decrease if these penalties are enforced. You could also see a permanent criminal charge on your record, which could impact future employability.
Another serious financial impact of a DWI charge, even if it is the first offense, is the increased insurance rates. Most insurance companies see a DWI charge and an indicator of increased risk and charge those convicted higher rates and premiums. Just as with any other criminal charge, even a misdemeanor can follow you for the rest of your life. This is why it is vital to ensure that you have the best defense possible immediately after your DWI arrest.
|Administrative||License revocation of up to 90 days||License revocation of up to 90 days; Registering “whiskey plates” on all vehicles; vehicle impoundment|
|Criminal penalties (Misdemeanor)||A misdemeanor is put on record||90 days in jail; $1,000 fine|
|Costs||Drivers license examination fee; DWI reinstatement fee; criminal fines; chemical dependency assessment fees||Drivers license examination fee; DWI reinstatement fee; criminal fines; chemical dependency assessment fees; plate impoundment fee; treatment costs; bail; penalty assessment; installation for an ignition interlock device|
Let Us Fight For You
Hiring the Right LawyerAttorney Jeffery Sheridan is well known for his skill as a criminal defense lawyer and has years of experience with DWI cases, with telling results. To learn more about your rights and discuss your case contact Sheridan & Dulas, P.A.