What recent changes have been made to our state’s DUI/DWI laws in Minnesota?In 2019, Minnesota passed a new law to reduce the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) from 0.08 to 0.04 for drivers operating commercial motor vehicles. In addition, Minnesota increased the severity of penalties for drivers operating with a BAC between 0.08 and 0.16 from a gross misdemeanor to a felony. Moreover, Minnesota now requires ignition interlock devices for all convicted DWI offenders regardless of whether they were arrested with a BAC below 0.16. Finally, the state also now requires those with four or more DWI convictions to have an ignition interlock device installed in all vehicles they operate.
Have there been updates to the legal BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) limit in Minnesota?Yes, the legal BAC limit in Minnesota was lowered on August 1, 2019 from 0.08 to 0.04 for drivers of commercial vehicles. This new limit applies to drivers of buses, trucks, taxis, and other commercial vehicles. It does not apply to recreational vehicles or passenger vehicles.
How have penalties for first-time DUI offenders changed in recent years in Minnesota?In recent years, the penalties for first-time DUI offenders in Minnesota have become much more severe. In 2020, Minnesota passed legislation increasing the fines for all DUI convictions, in addition to mandating that first-time DUI offenders install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles for at least six months. Furthermore, any first-time DUI conviction carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of three days or community service hours. Finally, offenders may also be placed on probation for up to one year.
Are there new ignition interlock device (IID) requirements or policies in Minnesota?Yes. As of August 1, 2020, Minnesota has implemented ignition interlock device (IID) requirements for all DWI offenders. All drivers with DWI convictions are now required to install an IID in their vehicle. The length of time the device must be in place is determined by the severity of the offense and other factors. The MN Department of Public Safety has more information about IID requirements, including a list of approved service providers.
Have there been changes to the process of DUI checkpoints and stops in Minnesota?Yes, in the summer of 2020, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a ruling that requires police officers to have “specific and articulable facts” before conducting a DUI checkpoint or stop. This means that the officers must have reasonable suspicion of a person’s involvement in criminal activity before being allowed to conduct the checkpoint or stop. Additionally, police officers are now required to provide documentation of the specific facts that justified the checkpoint or stop.
What impact have recent legal changes had on DUI/DWI sentencing in Minnesota?Recent legal changes in Minnesota have resulted in stricter sentencing for DUI/DWI offenders. The most significant change was the passage of the Ignition Interlock Law, which requires all first-time DUI/DWI offenders to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicle for at least one year. Other changes include increased license suspension periods, mandatory alcohol and chemical dependency assessment and treatment, and increased fines and fees. Additionally, multiple DUI/DWI offenses can result in more severe penalties, such as license revocation and jail time.
Are there new diversion or treatment programs for DUI offenders in Minnesota?Yes, Minnesota offers several diversion and treatment programs for DUI offenders. The state requires all individuals convicted of a first-time offense to complete an Alcohol Assessment as part of the sentencing process. The assessment can lead to referral to a treatment program or a court-supervised probation and monitoring program that includes alcohol and drug testing, completion of an approved alcohol education program, community service, and other requirements. For repeat offenders, the court may order participation in an Intensive Supervised Release (ISR) program, which includes intense supervision, intensive case management, and drug and alcohol testing. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Human Services offers specialized treatment programs and services for those convicted of impaired driving offenses.
Has the process for DUI/DWI testing or blood draws been modified in Minnesota?Yes, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota has modified its process for DUI/DWI testing and blood draws. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety now requires that drivers who are stopped for suspected DUI/DWI be tested using oral swabs instead of the usual breath test. Additionally, blood draws for suspected DUIs have been modified to ensure social distancing between hospital personnel and the suspects.
Have recent changes affected the availability of plea bargains in DUI cases in Minnesota?Recent changes have not significantly affected the availability of plea bargains in DUI cases in Minnesota. While there have been some changes to Minnesota’s DUI laws over the last few years, most of these changes have been aimed at making it harder for drunk drivers to get away with a lesser offense or reduced sentence. Plea bargains are still generally available in DUI cases, although they may be more difficult to negotiate than before.
Are there specific changes in DUI laws for underage drivers in Minnesota?Yes, there are specific changes in DUI laws for underage drivers in Minnesota. Minnesota has a zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving for individuals under the age of 21. For underage drivers with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .02 or higher but less than .08, their license may be suspended for 30 days. If the BAC is .08 or higher, their license can be revoked for up to one year. Additionally, an underage driver’s license can be revoked until age 21 if they refuse to take a chemical test. Additionally, underage drivers can face criminal charges and other penalties, including fines, community service, and alcohol education courses.
Have there been updates to DUI laws regarding marijuana or other drugs in Minnesota?Yes, Minnesota recently passed a law to update the state’s laws regarding driving while under the influence of marijuana and other drugs. The new law, which takes effect on August 1, 2020, makes it illegal to drive with more than 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood in your system. This is a decrease from the previous limit of 15 nanograms per milliliter. Additionally, the law creates new penalties for drivers found to have more than the legal limit in their system, including a minimum $150 fine for a first offense and an automatic license suspension.
What changes have been made to DUI penalties for commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders in Minnesota?In Minnesota, the penalties for a DUI conviction for a CDL holder have been made more severe. CDL holders convicted of a DUI will be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle for one year for a first offense and for three years for a second offense. Furthermore, CDL holders must now complete an alcohol and drug awareness course if they are convicted of a DUI, and the driver must provide proof of completion to the Department of Public Safety before they are eligible to have their license reinstated. Finally, CDL holders found guilty of DUI can also face additional penalties including fines, jail time, and/or community service.
Are there new reporting requirements for DUI/DWI convictions to other states in Minnesota?Yes. Minnesota has implemented a law that requires all individuals convicted of DUI/DWI in Minnesota to notify any state in which they hold a driver’s license or permit of the conviction. The notification must be made within 30 days of the conviction.
How have recent changes impacted the use of body cameras or dashcams during DUI stops in Minnesota?Recent changes have increased the use of body cameras and dashcams during DUI stops in Minnesota. Law enforcement agencies are now required to equip and use body and dashboard cameras when conducting DUI stops, including traffic stops, as part of the Department of Public Safety’s initiative to reduce the number of impaired driving incidents in the state. This law requires all law enforcement agencies, including the State Patrol, sheriff’s offices, and tribal police departments, to have body and dashcam footage available for review within 30 days of a DUI stop. The footage can be used to corroborate or refute a claim or provide additional evidence for a DUI case. In addition, this law requires all officers to complete an annual training course on proper camera use and maintenance for both body and dashcams.
Have there been changes to DUI laws related to accidents causing injury or death in Minnesota?Yes. In 2019, Minnesota passed a law that increased the penalties for causing an accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs resulting in great bodily harm or death. Under the new law, this offense is considered a felony if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, and carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. The law also established a gross misdemeanor charge for those who cause an accident while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, resulting in substantial bodily harm or death. This carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
Are there new policies or laws regarding DUI expungement or record sealing in Minnesota?No, there have not been any new policies or laws regarding DUI expungement or record sealing in Minnesota since 2018. The most recent law regarding DUI expungement in Minnesota is found in Minnesota Statutes 169A.33, which allows limited expungement of DUI records for first-time offenders who have completed an approved chemical use assessment.
Have recent legal changes affected DUI insurance rates in Minnesota?Recent legal changes have not specifically affected DUI insurance rates in Minnesota, as DUI insurance rates tend to be determined by individual company policies. However, the state of Minnesota does require all drivers to carry a minimum amount of insurance, which may affect overall insurance rates. Additionally, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety has implemented an annual DWI/DUI enforcement campaign designed to deter impaired driving and reduce the number of crashes and deaths caused by impaired driving. This may result in fewer DUI convictions and potentially lower insurance rates for drivers with good records.
What changes have been made to DUI/DWI court processes and procedures in Minnesota?In January 2021, Minnesota enacted sweeping changes to its DUI/DWI court processes and procedures. The new law requires courts to create standard protocols and procedures to ensure that all participants are treated fairly. The law also requires courts to establish an independent review process for any decisions made in a DUI/DWI court and requires the court to provide an opportunity for participants to be heard before sentencing. Additionally, the law bans the use of “no-contest” pleas in DUI/DWI cases and requires courts to provide notice of potential consequences of conviction or plea. Finally, the law requires all DUI/DWI cases to be tracked and data collected to help inform future policy decisions and research.
Are there additional resources or diversion programs for individuals with substance abuse issues in Minnesota?Yes, there are a number of additional resources and diversion programs available for individuals with substance abuse issues in Minnesota. These include:
• Substance Abuse Treatment Services (SATS): A state-wide network of treatment providers that offer counseling, medication-assisted treatment, and other services to individuals with substance use disorders.
• Recovery Support Services: Programs that provide support and resources for individuals in recovery from substance use disorders. These services include peer support groups, case management, employment assistance, and other support.
• Treatment Alternatives and Diversion (TAD) Programs: County-level alternatives to jail or prison for individuals with substance use disorders. These programs provide court-ordered treatment and support services to help participants break the cycle of substance abuse and crime.
• Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge: A faith-based residential treatment program for adults with substance use disorders.
• Minnesota Recovery Corps: A statewide program that connects individuals in recovery from substance abuse to voluntary service opportunities.
• Soberlink: An online recovery support system with web-based resources and tools to help individuals track their recovery progress.
• Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS): The state agency responsible for administering public assistance programs for individuals with substance use disorders. DHS also provides mental health and addiction services to eligible Minnesotans.
What is the process for staying informed about ongoing and future changes in DUI/DWI laws in Minnesota?1. Sign up for notifications. Minnesota’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) keeps a list of updates and changes to DUI/DWI laws, which you can subscribe to. You will receive an email whenever a new law is passed or existing law changes.
2. Follow legal news and publications. Stay up-to-date on changes in DUI/DWI laws in Minnesota by following legal news sources and publications like the Minnesota Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, The Legal Examiner, and other local media outlets that cover DUI/DWI-related news in the state.
3. Follow professional organizations and associations. Organizations such as the Minnesota State Bar Association, Minnesota State Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, and National College for DUI Defense provide updates on changes to DUI/DWI laws in Minnesota via their websites and social media accounts.
4. Connect with attorneys practicing in the state. Connecting with local attorneys who specialize in DUI/DWI defense can be a great way to stay informed about changes in Minnesota’s DUI/DWI laws. Many attorneys subscribe to legal publications and have access to legal resources that can help keep you up-to-date on any changes or updates to the law.