Temporary Reinstatement of Driving Privileges Following a DWI

Following a DWI, one of the most severe and immediate consequences is the revocation of the person’s driving privileges. The duration of the revocation can be from 90 days up to several years, depending on the circumstances of the arrest. A person subject to this revocation only has 30 days from the date of the incident to make an “implied consent challenge” of the revocation; failing to do so means the revocation will stand, no matter how the criminal DWI case is resolved.

Under the Implied Consent law, driving privileges may be temporarily reinstated if the implied consent challenge is not heard by a judge within 60 days. Not too long ago, it was common practice for the driver to request a hearing date beyond the 60 days and to also request an immediately temporary reinstatement. The outcome was the driver would be valid to drive while he or she worked through both the criminal case because its outcome impacts the implied consent case. Unfortunately, most counties do not permit this practice – only Hennepin County permits temporary reinstatement as a matter of course.

With the Supreme Court of the United States granting review of a Minnesota case (State v. Bernard), which challenges the constitutionality of the implied consent law, counties are taking a new approach to the temporary reinstatement option.

For instance, in Washington County, a notable judge has, sua sponte, ordered that all implied consent challenges will not be heard until the Bernard decision is made and is ordering temporary reinstatement in the interim. A judge in Dakota County is following suit, but has not automatically granted the temporary reinstatement.

This is an important development because it permits the cases to properly work through the legal system before a person faces consequences. If you are charged with a Minnesota DWI, it is critical to get an attorney that is both up to date with the latest appellate court decisions, knows how to utilize them on your behalf, and will properly move the Court to temporarily reinstate your driving privileges. Minnesota’s DWI law is in a state of flux and you need a team like North Star Criminal Defense to fight for your rights.


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