2nd Degree DWI

2nd Degree DWI

2nd degree dwi2nd Degree DWI in Minnesota is a gross misdemeanor offense. There were 2 or more aggravating factors at the time of the offense or there was a refusal with 1 or more aggravating factors present. Mandatory penalties and long-term monitoring apply. License plates will be revoked. And, the vehicle will be subject to forfeiture. Because only a 2nd Degree allows for forfeiture of the vehicle, negotiating a plea to a lesser degree is more complicated when facing 2nd degree charges.

You will be charged with a 2nd degree DWI if the following factors apply:

  1. You have two prior DWI’s in the past ten years;
  2. Your alcohol concentration was at .16 or above or refused the test, and you have a prior DWI within the past 10 years; or
  3. Your alcohol concentration was at .16 or above and you had a child under the age of 16 in the vehicle at the time of the incident.


If you’re convicted of a 2nd degree DWI, you will likely face jail time. The amount of time you will need to serve will depend on the circumstances of the DWI and the number of past DWI convictions.

If there are two prior DWI convictions within the last 10 years, the statutory minimum requires 90 days to be served, with 30 days in custody and 60 on electronic home monitoring with alcohol supervision. If you have one prior DWI conviction with a current 2nd Degree DWI charge, the statutory minimum requires 48 hours in custody with 28 days on electronic home monitoring. Though, due to the elevated reading, most jurisdictions will initially ask for a stiffer penalty. And if the 2nd Degree DWI stems from a high reading and the presence of a child in the car, no statutory minimum is in play, but rest assured the State will seek stiff penalties that includes time in custody.

Despite the presence of statutory minimum sentences, these can be avoided with a proper legal strategy. These are always negotiable and there are many proactive steps a client can take to improve their situation to receive a better outcome. Further, some jurisdictions – like Hennepin County for instance – have DWI Court – an alternative court that is designed to help repeat offenders tackle the underlying issues with alcohol. DWI Court involves intensive oversight by the Court and probation, and time-consuming, but the client can avoid lengthy jail sentences and get the care necessary to really tackle potential alcohol problems. Clients that have entered this program have been successful and are pleased with the decision to do it.

We explore this option, as well as others, in developing and implementing a personalized legal strategy to best serve our clients needs. A 2nd Degree DWI attorney is critical to help counsel and guide you through this complicated maze and put you in the best position moving forward.

Case Results

To see just how successful our approach is, here are some representative case results:

State v. N.A.

April 2017

Charges: 2nd Degree DWI – Gross Misdemeanor

Resolution: Plea to 3rd Degree DWI – Gross Misdemeanor. The client had a recent prior (in fact, she’s still on probation from it) and a high breath test reading. Further, she had a single-car accident that resulted in damage to public property. Her vehicle was subject to forfeiture, as well. Still, despite this bad facts, Mr. Gempeler negotiated a result that is consistent with a standard, low-reading second-time offense (which means, no further jail, minimal fine, no increase in house arrest often associated with high-reading/accident cases) and, most importantly to the client, the return of her vehicle. The client is very pleased with this result, understanding how easily it could have ended up so much worse for her without the proper counseling of North Star.

State v. F.L.

April 2017

Charges: 2nd Degree DWI – Gross Misdemeanor

Resolution: An extremely high PBT test and two aggravating factors out of Washington County, settled as essentially a 4th Degree DWI. The forfeiture of his motor vehicle dismissed and car returned without costs, driving privileges reinstated, and no jail time. This client was representing himself, facing a mandatory 6 months in jail, a three year revocation of his driving privileges, and the loss of his treasured vehicle. After six months of careful negotiations and strong efforts to reform himself, the client gets his car back, avoids so much as an HOUR in custody, and moves forward with his new baby and family intact. Hard to say what aspect of our work was responsible for this outcome, other than a relentless commitment to integrity-based advocacy, and carefully-managed relationships with judges, judicial staff, prosecutors and clerks. A great, great outcome.

State v. N.A.

October 2016

Charges: 2nd Degree DWI

Resolution: This high-test DWI with general non-compliance (to put it politely) from the client to local police upon arrest was successfully reduced to a misdemeanor after careful negotiations, supportive therapies for and by the client, and great good luck in finding a prosecutor and a judge in remarkably workable good moods on the day of trial. Client escapes a life-altering outcome through his own hard work and the talents of his team at North Star Criminal Defense.

State v. A.P.

November 2015

Charges: 2nd Degree DWI – Refusal

Resolution: Case out of Washington County. Plea to a lesser included conviction with a sentence that did not include any jail time, house arrest, or sentence to service – a rare outcome for DWI offenders with priors and a refusal. This case points to the importance of being proactive. The client immediately obtained an alcohol-dependence assessment, readily accepted responsibility for his actions, and had an honest commitment to community-building conduct before the case is resolved. By dedicating a significant amount of time to community service in advance of any formal hearings, this client escaped nearly all of the pitfalls inherent to 2nd degree DWI prosecution. The benefit is limiting the criminal consequences, with less supervision and obligations while being supervised. A fantastic result for a truly exceptional client.

State v. J.L.

July 2015

Charges: 2nd Degree DWI

Resolution: Case was dismissed. Mr. Adkins obtained the dismissal after successfully raising the post-incident consumption defense. The client admitted to drinking prior to driving to a local restaurant, thereby giving the prosecution traction to pursue the DWI. Mr. Adkins’ thorough investigation into the night in question led to the discovery of multiple eyewitnesses that corroborated the client’s story that he consumed a number of drinks at the restaurant, which is what ultimately led to him being well-above the legal limit. An expert report concluding that the client could not have had an alcohol concentration higher than .06 at the time of driving was the final push the prosecutor needed in order to dismiss the case short of a contested hearing. Needless to say, the client is overjoyed with Mr. Adkins’ work.

For more detailed information, please click on the links below:

2nd Degree DWI Expungement

If you have a prior 2nd Degree DWI conviction from over four years ago and are looking to get that expunged off your record you can visit our expungement website to see what options you may have to clear your record. We have experience expunging dozens of Minnesota DWI convictions, allowing our clients to move on with their lives.

MN DWI Expungements

Schedule a Consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

© 2017 Aggressive and Respected Criminal Defense Attorneys All Rights Reserved.

Web Site Design Powered by Rocket Matter IMS.