Mandatory Penalties

Minnesota Mandatory Penalties

minnesota mandatory penaltiesMandatory penalties kick in based upon the number of prior offenses within the previous ten years, not on the number of aggravating factors present. Mandatory Penalties for Non-Felony Violations:

Second Offense

If the defendant has one prior within ten years, the Court must sentence the defendant to either:

  1. A minimum of 30 days of incarceration, with at least 48 hours to be served in custody; or
  2. 8 hours of community work service for each day less than 30 days that the person is ordered to serve in custody.

These minimum terms of the sentence must be imposed, regardless of the fact the Court stays imposition or execution of the sentence. At a minimum, that means at least 48 hours in custody or at least 80 hours of community work service. Any time not served in custody will likely be served on electronic home monitoring (EHM).

Both the prosecutor or court may bring a motion to have the defendant sentenced without regard to the mandatory minimums described above. And the motions must be accompanied by a statement on the record of the reasons for this departure from the mandatory minimums, including any findings of the existence of substantial mitigating factors.

Third Offense

If the defendant has two priors within ten years, the Court must sentence the defendant to either:

  1. A minimum of 90 days of incarceration, at least 30 days of which must be served consecutively in local confinement; or
  2. The defendant enroll in DWI Court and serve at least six days consecutively in local confinement.

Again, these mandatory minimums must be imposed, regardless of the fact the Court may stay imposition or execution of the sentence.

Fourth Offense

Unless the defendant faces felony-level offenses, the court shall sentence a defendant with three priors within ten years to either:

  1. A minimum of 180 days of incarceration, at least 30 days of which must be served consecutively in local confinement;
  2. The defendant enroll in DWI Court and serve at least six days consecutively in local confinement; or
  3. A program of staggered sentencing involving a minimum of 180 days of incarceration, at least 30 days of which must be served consecutively in local confinement.

These minimums must be imposed regardless of the fact the Court may stay imposition or execution of the sentence.

Fifth Offense or More

Unless the defendant faces felony-level offenses, the court shall sentence a defendant with four or more priors within ten years to either:

  1. A minimum of one-year of incarceration, at least 60 days of which must be served consecutively in local confinement;
  2. The defendant enroll in DWI Court and serve at least six days consecutively in local confinement; or
  3. A program of staggered sentencing involving a minimum of one-year of incarceration, at least 60 days of which must be served consecutively in local confinement.

These minimums must be imposed regardless of the fact the Court may stay imposition or execution of the sentence.

In addition, if the defendant has one or more priors or an alcohol concentration of 0.20 or more as measured at the time, or within 2 hours of the time, of the offense, the Court shall order a person to complete a chemical use assessment and follow recommendations. There is a $25.00 chemical assessment charge associated with this condition, though this may be waived by the Court.

Finally, long-term monitoring is required when a defendant has 2 or more priors. Under this program, the Court requires the defendant to participate in a program of electronic alcohol monitoring for a minimum of 30 consecutive days during each year of the defendant’s probationary period.

These mandatory minimums are not required if the Court orders the person, as a condition of probation, to drive only motor vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device.

Mandatory Penalties for Felony Violations 

If a defendant is convicted of a first-degree DWI, the Court shall sentence the defendant to imprisonment for a period between 3-7 years and a fine of not more than $14,000.00.

A felony DWI is a presumptive stayed sentence for defendants with 0-2 criminal history points. The contemplated stayed sentence would be 36-, 42, or 48-months respectively. If the Court does not execute the mandatory prison sentence, then it must apply the mandatory penalties for non-felony DWI offenses as detailed above.

A defendant incarcerated for a felony DWI is not eligible for early release unless he or she has successfully completed a chemical dependency treatment program while in custody. Upon being released, the defendant must be placed on conditional release for five years, under conditions the commissioner of corrections opts to impose, which may include an intensive probation program for repeat DWI offenders.

Consecutive Sentences 

When a defendant is sentenced for a DWI and is already on probation for a prior DWI offense or being sentenced for another DWI, the Court shall impose a consecutive sentence. This consecutive sentence mandate is not applicable when the defendant is being sentenced for a felony DWI.

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