How Much Is a DWI Going to Cost Me in MN?

The overall cost a DWI in Minnesota generally varies. There are four levels of DWI in Minnesota. The higher the level (first degree felony is the worst / fourth degree misdemeanor is the least severe), the higher the likelihood you will pay more for it. A common belief is that a DWI will cost a person $10,000, including legal fees, court fines, insurance costs, etc. In some situations, that can be true. In others, it can be cheaper. Again, it generally varies based on the severity of the DWI.

Fourth Degree DWIs are misdemeanor offenses. The maximum sentence on a misdemeanor is 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. Third and Second Degree DWIs are gross misdemeanor offenses. They have a maximum sentence of up to a year in jail and a $3,000 fine. First Degree DWIs are felony offenses. They have a maximum sentence of up to 7 years in prison and a $14,000 fine. Rarely does the court impose the maximum fine or sentence. They often stay a large percentage of the fine. The court will also often give time for people to pay their fines or allow them to setup a payment plan. Often, the minimum fine on a misdemeanor is $300 and $900 for a gross misdemeanor. There are also surcharges and fees that generally range from $78 to $100. Some counties even add a penalty assessment on gross misdemeanor and felony DWIs. Importantly, fines and fees are only imposed when a person is convicted of a DWI or related offense, such as Careless Driving. If your case is dismissed entirely, then there are no court fines to pay.

For DWI cases that do not result in a dismissal, there may be a nominal fee for programming. The programming is usually a chemical dependency evaluation (some courts call it a chemical use assessment or alcohol problem assessment). Chemical dependency evaluations are simply meetings with a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. The evaluator will talk to you about your DWI case and alcohol and drug use They will give you a recommendation about whether you could benefit from educational classes or treatment. In some circumstances, they do not recommend anything. The evaluations generally cost around $200–$300. Sometimes, insurance will cover it. Many courts will also require a MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) Victim Impact Panel to be completed. This is roughly a two-hour panel that discusses the effects of drinking and driving. The cost of the panel is usually around $25–$35. Some courts have their own DWI class. Hennepin, Anoka, and Dakota County all do. Those classes usually last one day and cost around $350–$400.

Besides the criminal court process, a DWI will also often trigger a driver’s license revocation adding to the overall cost. Your DWI attorney can challenge that revocation through a petition for judicial review (also called an implied consent petition) in court. To file that petition, each county court charges a filing fee that costs around $300. You will also likely have to go through the license reinstatement process at the DMV. Currently, that fee is $680. If your DWI requires you to get on the ignition interlock device, then there is generally a cost around $100–$200 for installation and about $100 a month. The cost of your car insurance is also likely to increase, if a DWI or license revocation hits your driving record.

Hiring a good DWI lawyer will also cost you money. The cost will range based on the severity of the case and how much work may be needed in the case. If you wish to challenge your driver’s license or vehicle being taken away, then the attorney will likely charge more to cover the filings fees for those. Most DWI attorneys charge a flat fee. Some also provide payment plans to make it more affordable to you.

In conclusion, it is reasonable to expect to pay at least a few thousand dollars for your DWI case, including attorney fees, court fines, license reinstatement, etc. If you have questions about your DWI case and want to inquire about our services, we offer consultations for no charge.