Minnesota has revised its drunk driving laws

Did you know that the state of Minnesota recently stiffened penalties for mid-level drunk driving offenses?

This year, the Minnesota Legislature lowered the threshold for gross misdemeanor DWI offenses to a blog-alcohol concentration (BAC) of .16. The new law went into effect August 2016. This revision makes the BAC level .04 percent lower than the former trigger point (.20) for high-level drunk driving violations.

Mathematically, you might think that this legislative change is not that big of a deal, but do not be mistaken. According to the Star Tribune, the new law could equate to approximately 3,000 more gross misdemeanor DWI charges per year, assuming the average arrest numbers and recorded BAC levels from the past couple of years remain the same.

How will the new law affect drunk driving penalties?

The new law can expose defendants with a BAC of .16 or higher to a maximum of one year in jail. A suspect can face $3,000 in fines, if convicted. In addition to these changes, there is no doubt that those with a .16 BAC will be subject to higher bail amounts than before; higher car insurance rates; and more involvement in the legal system than misdemeanor defendants. A gross misdemeanor on the record can also mean steeper penalties for subsequent drunk driving offenses.

If you were recently charged with drunk driving, you are not alone. Today, one out of every seven Minnesota drivers has been convicted for at least one DWI. Any attorney that has defended a drunk driving case will tell you that it is best to act quickly when dealing with these charges. To learn more about this law and how it can affect your case, speak with an aggressive criminal law attorney in Twin Cities.