Convicting an individual for a crime is similar to following a recipe. Recipes require specific ingredients and crimes require specific elements. You could not make a batch of chocolate chip cookies without all the ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs, chocolate chips, etc. Similarly, you cannot be convicted of a crime if the state cannot prove each and every element of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt.
To be convicted of driving while impaired (DWI) in Minnesota, the state must prove the following DWI elements:
- Defendant drove, operated or physically controlled a motor vehicle on the roadways or boundary waters of the State of Minnesota,
- Was driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance,
- Was driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or more as tested within two hours of operating a motor vehicle.
Degrees of DWI.
The State of Minnesota has four degrees of DWI that relate to the varying seriousness of the charge. The lower the offense the higher the degree (for example: 4th degree DWI is a misdemeanor offense whereas a 1st degree DWI is a felony offense). The punishment to be imposed depends on the degree of the DWI conviction, prior DWI convictions or prior driver's license revocations as well as the presence of any aggravating factors.
Aggravating factors. Increased charges.
Each degree of the charge is determined by the presence of aggravating factors. If you have been charged with a DWI and one or more aggravating factors are present, then the state may increase or intensify the degree of offense.
Aggravating factors for DWI convictions:
- Driving with a blood alcohol concentration over .20;
- Driving under the influence with someone under the age of 16 in the vehicle;
- Driving a vehicle across a railroad stop arm while under the influence;
- Having a prior alcohol-related offense on your record within the last 10 years; and
- Any prior alcohol-related driver's license revocation.
Charged with a drunk driving crime? Contact Eric J. Olson.
Minneapolis DWI defense lawyer Eric J. Olson is committed to providing aggressive and personal representation. Call Mr. Olson today for a free case consultation at 952.835.1088.