How Well Do You Know Minnesota’s DUI Laws?
Driving drunk is a serious crime with serious penalties. Alcohol plays a role in a full third of all traffic deaths in Minnesota. If you’ve been accused of this crime and need to know what’s ahead of you, or if you simply want to avoid this dangerous mistake, keep reading. This blog will discuss Minnesota’s legal blood alcohol level limits and the consequences of being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Minnesota’s Legal Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit
Each state sets their blood alcohol concentration limit, or BAC, a little differently. Minnesota’s BAC is .08%, meaning that no more than .08% of your bloodstream can be alcohol. While this seems like a tiny percentage, at this range, most people start losing their reasoning skills, depth perception, and peripheral vision, making them dangerous drivers.
Most people can have a two or three drinks while keeping their BAC under the legal limit. In this case, a drink is defined as:
- One shot of hard liquor (1.5 fluid ounces)
- One glass of wine (5 fluid ounces of wine)
- 12 fluid ounces of beer
However, it’s dangerous to automatically assume that you can drive safely if you’ve had a couple of drinks. Many factors affect your level of sobriety, including medications that you take, how much you’ve had to eat, your weight, your gender, your age, and your natural tolerance to alcohol. Even if you’ve only had a little bit to drink, don’t drive unless you’re sure you can do so safely.
Though .08% is the legal BAC limit for most people, commercial drivers must maintain .04% or less, and those under 21 must not have any blood alcohol content. Otherwise, they can be charged with drunk driving. Additionally, if you are pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving and refuse to take a breathalyzer test, you can still be charged and penalized.
Penalties for Driving Drunk
The penalties for driving drunk depend on your BAC, whether or not this is your first DUI offense, and whether or not you have a child in the car with you. Generally, even if your BAC is the legal limit or just barely above it, you’ll face much harsher consequences if you have a child in your car.
If you don’t have a child with you, the penalties for DUI are as follows.
If this is your first DUI, then the consequences will be more lenient. However, they still depend on your BAC:
- .08% to .15%. If your BAC is in this range, you’ll be charged with a misdemeanor. You could serve up to 90 days in jail and/or pay a $1,000 fine. You’ll lose your driving license for 90 days unless you agree to use an ignition interlock device (IID). We’ll discuss this option later.
- .16% and up. Those whose BAC is twice the legal limit will be charged with a gross misdemeanor, meaning the charges are more serious. You may serve up to a year in jail and/or pay a $3,000 fine. Your driving license will be suspended for a year or two, depending on the offense, unless you agree to use an IID for that time frame instead.
An ignition interlock device provides a way for those charged with a DUI to keep their licenses while making sure they still drive safely. This device makes you breathe into an alcohol breathalyzer. If your breath does not pass the test, the device will make sure your car can’t turn on.
These devices also come with several anti-circumvention features, such as making you breathe into the breathalyzer multiple times while you’re driving to make sure you didn’t stop for a drink or have another person breathe into it for you. Additionally, Minnesota requires that these tests are recorded by a camera inside your car, and a service person must check on your IID every month to make sure it hasn’t been tampered with.
The more DUIs you have, the harsher the penalties you face. Not only will the possible jail times and fines increase, but your license will be suspended or your driving monitored by an IID for longer periods of time-you might have to have an IID for several years.
If you have three or previous offenses, you may be charged with a felony instead of a misdemeanor, and you could be sentenced to seven years in prison with a $14,000 fine. Additionally, you may be required to enter an alcohol treatment program, be electronically monitored at home, or even forfeit your car.
If you are charged with a DUI, you’ll need the help of a competent lawyer. However, before that happens, you may first need to get out of jail. If you can’t round up enough money for your bail, contact Absolute Bail Bonds-we’ll make posting bail quick and easy. Look here for a list of our locations in Minnesota.