When authorities in Minnesota stop your car and think you might be under the influence of alcohol, they may request that you submit to a breath test. Depending on the breath test results, you may wind up facing a charge of driving while intoxicated.
Per the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, even a first-time DWI leads to serious penalties. These penalties might include hefty fines, possible jail time, possible ignition interlock device requirements, and licensure loss, among others. However, if certain circumstances exist, you may wind up facing a charge of felony DWI. This carries even harsher penalties and may also lead to collateral consequences. Under what circumstances might you face a felony DWI charge in Minnesota?
When you receive a fourth DWI charge within a certain span
If you receive four DWIs within the same 10-year span, the fourth automatically becomes a felony.
When you already have a felony DWI
If you have a felony DWI conviction already, a subsequent DWI arrest may also constitute a felony offense.
When you already have specific types of felony convictions
You may also face a felony DWI charge if you have existing felony convictions for specific driving-related criminal violations. More specifically, you may face a felony drunk driving charge if you already have a felony conviction for a moving violation that resulted in a vehicular homicide or injury.
The prison terms and fines associated with felony DWI are much longer and higher than they are for misdemeanor DWI. When you face a felony DWI charge in Minnesota, you also typically have to remain behind bars until you appear for your court date.