Minnesota DWI Process

If a law enforcement official believes that you are operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you will likely be charged with DWI. The process of being charged and tried for this offense can be complicated and overwhelming, but having the right attorney on your side can make all the difference.

Stages of Minnesota DWI Process

Arrest and Release

The first part of the DWI process in Minnesota involves being pulled over and arrested for DWI. After your arrest, the court will decide when you should be released. If you are a first-time offender, you may be released without bail. However, if you have a criminal record or your DWI offense involved injury or property damage, you may need to post bail to be released from jail. In the most extreme cases, the court may require you to remain in jail until your hearing.


Your arraignment is your initial hearing following your arrest. At this hearing, the court will read your charges and ask for your plea. If you plead guilty, you will receive a sentence. If you enter a plea of not guilty, you will go to trial.

Pre-Trial Conference

If you enter a plea of not guilty, a pre-trial conference will be scheduled. The purpose of this hearing is to give you a chance to file pre-trial motions, ask for evidence or other information from the prosecution or negotiate a plea bargain.


Next, your case will go to trial. During the trial, the court will hear evidence from both sides. If you want to take the stand and defend yourself, you will have an opportunity at this hearing. At the end of the hearing, the court will decide your verdict. If you are found guilty, you will receive a sentence in accordance with Minnesota law.

Possible Consequences

If you are ultimately convicted of DWI, your sentence will depend on several factors, including your criminal history, the discretion of the court and the competence of your attorney.

First Offense

After your first DWI conviction, your license may be suspended for up to 90 days. You may also spend up to 90 days in jail, and you may owe a fine of up to $1,000.

Second Offense

After your second DWI conviction in 10 years, your license will be suspended for one year, and you will be required to remove and surrender your license plates. You may also spend up to one year in jail, and you may be required to pay a fine of up to $3,000.

Third Offense

After your third DWI conviction in 10 years, your license will be suspended for up to three years, and your plates will be impounded. The maximum jail sentence for a third conviction is one year, and the maximum fine is $3,000. In some cases, you may also be required to forfeit your vehicle.

Felony DWI

If you have three DWI convictions within the past 10 years or a prior felony involving a vehicle and you are charged with DWI again, you will be charged with felony DWI. The possible penalties for conviction include driver’s licenses suspension for up to six years, plate impoundment, forfeiture of your vehicle, up to seven years in state prison and a fine of up to $14,000.

Hiring an Attorney

If you have been charged with DWI in Minnesota, having an experienced attorney on your side is essential. The right attorney will be able to guide you through each phase of this process, helping you make the right decisions every step of the way.

Attorney Andrew Leone has significant experience defending clients who are facing DWI charges in Minnesota. Please contact Leone Legal, PA today to learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment.

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