It would not be unusual for you to take driving for granted. If you have an appointment, need to get to work, class, a ball game or a party, you just hop in the car and go.
However, if law enforcement arrests you on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, you could suddenly lose your driving privileges. What happens then?
Checking your BAC level
It is illegal to drive in Minnesota if you have a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or above. If you have a commercial driver’s license, the threshold is 0.04 percent. If you are under the age of 21, law enforcement can arrest you on suspicion of DWI if there is any trace of alcohol in your bloodstream.
First-offender penalties: BAC under 0.16 percent
You will face both criminal and administrative penalties if arrested for DWI. For example, if your BAC is under 0.16 percent, the criminal charge will be a misdemeanor and you have a choice of 90 days in jail or a fine of $1,000. In terms of administrative sanctions, you are looking at losing your driving privileges for 90 days. However, you have options. You can choose to go without those privileges for 15 days and have a limited license for the remaining 75, or you can enter a guilty plea, which will reduce the 90 days to 30 days.
First-offender penalties: BAC over 0.16 percent
If your blood alcohol content level is 0.16 percent or above, you are now facing a criminal charge of gross misdemeanor, which requires a jail term of one year and/or a fine of $3,000. Keep in mind that a testing refusal also constitutes a gross misdemeanor and no driving privileges for a year. In order to resume driving, you can choose the option of losing your license for 15 days with a limited license for the rest of one year, or retain full driving privileges if you agree to the installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle.
Getting back on the road
If the police arrest you for DWI, you may still have legal options available. You may take your driving privileges for granted now, but once you no longer have them, your primary goal will be to get those privileges back.