The Minnesota Legislature has passed a law, going into effect on August 1, 2015, that will lower the alcohol concentration level at which a first-time DWI driver may be charged with a gross misdemeanor DWI.
Under the current law, if a Minnesota driver tests .08%-1.9% alcohol concentration level, the offense is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $1,000.00 fine. The current statute requires that a first-time DWI driver test at .20% or more alcohol concentration level in order to constitute a “gross misdemeanor” with a maximum penalty of one year in jail and a $3,000.00 fine. Effective August 1st however, the alcohol concentration level will be lowered from .20% to .16%.
The Minnesota Star Tribune reports that the lower gross misdemeanor alcohol concentration threshold will primarily affect repeat offenders, because they have an average alcohol concentration level of .165%. The Tribune also reports that, “In the past three years, an average of 5,024 people a year were charged in Minnesota for driving with blood-alcohol levels between .16 and .19. From 2011 through 2013, 77 people died in Minnesota and 42 others were injured in crashes involving drivers with BAC levels between .16 and .19. An average of 99 people died each year in all alcohol-alcohol related accidents in Minnesota in those years and an average of 2,440 were injured.”
If you or a loved one have been arrested for a Minnesota DWI offense, please call Minneapolis DWI Lawyer F. T. Sessoms at (612) 344-1505 today. I will be happy to answer all of your questions.