Frequently asked questions about DWI charges in Minnesota

DWI questions answered by St Cloud Defense Attorney David Buchin

At Buchin Law Office we will evaluate your case closely and help you through this stressful time. Our St. Cloud law office is known as being experienced and affordable.  We have handled many criminal DWI and DUI cases in Stearns County and beyond. You can count on Buchin Law Office as your trusted DWI attorney.

DWI Arrest? Your life does not have to be over, you may have options.

In the event that you are charged with a criminal DWI, choose the trusted Central Minnesota attorneys at Buchin Law Office to represent you. Our attorneys understand the fear and stress that can result from these very serious charges. The lawyers at Buchin Law Office have extensive experience in dealing with DUI and DWI cases. We will evaluate your case closely and plan a defense based upon the Minnesota state statutes. We know MN laws and procedures well that need to be followed in the event of a traffic stop leading to a DWI charge.

No matter the level of the charges you are facing, we can help. We have expertise in everything from misdemeanor DWI and DUI charges to felony charges. We are educated in knowing your rights in being charged with this crime and take our jobs defending you very seriously. There are always options in the case of DWI or DUI charges and our aggressive lawyers will find yours for you. Our MN based attorneys have extensive experience with criminal cases and will personally work hard to offer you the best choices in the direction your case will take. You do not necessarily have to lose your freedom or your driving privileges. We will work hard to let you keep your driver’s license as well as limit any possible jail time.

Our St. Cloud based law office is conveniently located in the downtown area across from the Stearns County Courthouse.


Is there a difference between “DUI” and “DWI”?

“DUI” stands for “Driving Under the Influence.” This does not necessarily need to have a specific alcohol level attached to this charge. All that needs to be proven is that the driver was impaired by alcohol.

“DWI” stands for “Driving While Intoxicated.” This charge is usually connected with a prohibited alcohol level. In Minnesota, the blood alcohol level is .08.

The State of Minnesota also uses the term “Impaired Driving” which could be the result of either impairment or a prohibited alcohol level.

Will I go to jail after a DWI arrest?

Jail time is a possibility for some DUI and DWI charges. Repeat offenders are subject to mandatory minimum penalties. Choosing the right criminal defense lawyer may help you avoid a jail sentence.

What penalties am I facing if convicted of a DWI?

The penalties vary with each type of DWI charge and many factors are taken into consideration. For a first offense, an offender is usually facing a misdemeanor charge which is punishable by a maximum fine of $1,000 and maximum jail time of 90 days or both. A first time offender faces the possibility of losing driving privileges for a minimum of 90 days as well as a court-ordered alcohol treatment program or class. A second offense in ten years brings about a gross misdemeanor charge that is punishable by a maximum penalty of $3,000 and/or 1 year in jail. The offender also faces a minimum jail sentence of 30 days in jail and the loss of driving privileges for a minimum of 1 year. With a third offense, the accused could do a minimum of 90 days in jail and/or an intensive probation sentence. The vehicle in which the offense occurred will likely be impounded and will require a criminal defense attorney’s assistance in retrieving it. If facing a fourth offense, you will be charged with a felony. You could be sentenced to a minimum of three years in jail and a maximum of a $14,000 fine. Each offense is subject to aggravating factors that will be used to determine the judge’s final ruling.

How long will I lose my license if convicted of a DWI?

There are many circumstances that will determine the amount of time your license will be revoked by the State of Minnesota due to a DWI conviction. Some of them include your blood alcohol level, possible test refusal, any history of prior offenses and your age. A common revocation period for first-time DWI offenders is 90 days.

Can I get a work permit after a DWI conviction?

It is a possibility depending on the factors in your case. The key factors that will determine your eligibility for a DWI work permit are your test results and prior history. It is also possible to apply for driving privileges being reinstated with the installation of an Ignition Interlock device.

Why was I charged with DWI when my BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration) was under the legal limit?

The prosecution only needs to prove that the driver was under the influence. Any amount of alcohol combined with faulty driving conduct can result in the charge and conviction of DWI or DUI.

What are the legal methods the police can use when determining whether or not a driver is under the influence?

There are 3 ways that police can tell if someone is under the influence. They use the observation method to check for driving infractions such as swerving, speeding, slow driving or failure to stop. They also use sobriety tests to determine the possibility of impaired driving. They will conduct a series of physical tests which can include standing on one leg, walking a straight line or saying the alphabet. Failure to perform these tests well can lead to the third method which is blood alcohol level testing. BAC is measured by taking a blood sample, urine sample or breath test.

Do I have to take the blood alcohol test that the police are requesting I take for a DWI stop?

It is a crime to refuse blood alcohol testing that is requested by the police. It is always a good idea to adhere to testing requests. Refusal can result in license revocation for a minimum of one year and possible vehicle forfeiture.

What is the legal blood alcohol level limit in Minnesota?

Minnesota state law states that anyone with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher can be charged with and convicted of DWI or DUI. Any amount of alcohol can impair your ability to drive, however, and the state only needs to prove impairment no matter if the blood alcohol concentration is under the legal limit.

How many drinks can I have before being over .08?

Each type of alcoholic beverage has a different percentage of alcohol in it. In addition to paying attention to the amount of alcohol you have consumed over a certain period of time, it is important to also consider gender, age, weight, food intake, medications and other determining factors. 

Disclaimer: No information provided on this website should be perceived as legal advice. The content of this website is only intended to provide general information. Only the establishment of an attorney-client relationship with Buchin Law Office can lead to the inception of legal advice from any member of the office team.


Do not go it alone, get help from a qualified Minnesota Defense Attorney.