What is Third Degree DWI in MN?

Third Degree DWIs in Minnesota are gross misdemeanor offenses. These carry up to a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail and a $3,000 fine. Third Degree DWIs are neither the worst, nor least severe DWI. Felony First Degree DWI is the worst DWI in Minnesota. Third Degree DWIs are less severe DWIs than Felony First Degree DWI and Gross Misdemeanor Second Degree DWI.

A driver can be charged with a Third Degree DWI in different scenarios. A first-time DWI offense can be Third Degree DWI in Minnesota, if your alcohol concentration level is .16 or more as measured by the evidentiary breath, blood, or urine test. Having a child under the age of 16 in your vehicle at the time of the offense can be Third Degree DWI. Refusing to take an evidentiary breath, blood, or urine test can be Third Degree DWI Refusal for a first offense. In DWI Refusals cases in Minnesota the test is the evidentiary test a police officer requests. This is different than the preliminary breath test (PBT) cops ask people to take at the side of the road or location of your arrest. DWI Test Refusal charges are not based on refusing a PBT. Likewise, testing .08 or .16 or more based on the result of your PBT is not a sole basis for charging a driver with DWI. Prosecutors need an evidentiary test for those things. Officers generally administer evidentiary breath tests at a police department or jail. In Minnesota, officers are supposed to read drivers the Minnesota Breath Test Advisory before administering the evidentiary breath test on the DataMaster Machine. The Breath Test Advisory includes your rights to speak with a lawyer for a reasonable period of time before you decide to take the evidentiary test.

If you have a prior DWI or designated license revocation within the past ten years, it can also be Third Degree DWI. The prior DWI within the past ten years is an aggravating factor that can prompt a mandatory minimum sentence. Avoid the mandatory minimum sentence is possible. The judge, prosecutor, and work of your defense lawyer can impact whether that mandatory minimum sentence happens in your case. Third Degree DWI arrests may lead to the driver being held in custody. The driver can remain in jail until bail is set and paid, the person sees a judge, or the jail has to release them based on the thirty-six- or forty-eight-hour rule.

License revocations and potential license plate impoundments can happen because of Third Degree DWIs. Right now, a Third Degree DWI results in a one-year driver’s license revocation. Third Degree DWI Refusal cases give the driver the option of a limited license or work permit to drive during the license revocation period. Third Degree DWIs because of a prior DWI within the past ten years, or an evidentiary test of .16 or more on a first offense, a person may drive by using the ignition interlock program is during the revocation period. To challenge the revocation of your driving privileges in Minnesota, you have sixty days from the date you were served with the order revoking your license to file and serve a petition for judicial review in court. In some counties, you may be able to get a temporary reinstatement of your driver’s license while your case is ongoing.