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Ask the Legal Mustache: How Long Will My License Be Revoked For a First Time DWI?

Posted by Brandon Lauer | Dec 17, 2018 | 0 Comments

One of the more difficult penalties associated with a DWI is the immediate license revocation. This is technically considered a civil penalty, and happens upon either test failure or test refusal. No conviction is actually needed.

Test Failure

For the first time DWI, if your alcohol concentration was under a .16, your license revocation will be 90 days. If you plead guilty to the underlying criminal charge, then that 90 days drops to 30 days (unless you had a child under the age of 16 in the car with you). It's sort of like an odd "incentive" of sorts to plead guilty. However, no client of mine should be pleading guilty in 30 days; that's simply not enough time to fully evaluate a case to determine if a plea deal is in your best interests.

If your alcohol concentration was a .16 or higher, the license revocation jumps from 90 days to an entire year! Yikes, a year. And in this case, there is no "incentive" to plead guilty. A .16 either way is 1 year of license revocation.

If you were under the age of 21, the license revocation jumps from 90 days to 180 days. Similarly, a .16 or higher means 1 year. And sorry kids, but if you're under 21 and driving above a .08,there is no "incentive" to plead guilty. It's still 180 days/1 year depending on alcohol level.

Zero Tolerance for Those Under 21

On a side note, there is a zero tolerance policy in Minnesota for those under the age of 21. Not a drop (which, the law prohibits underage drinking whether driving or not). If you're under a .08, but there is alcohol in your system while driving, your license privileges get revoked for 30 days on a first time offense.

Test Refusal

For the first time DWI, if it is a refusal charge, your license revocation is 1 year. Here, there is another one of those "incentives" to plead guilty; your license revocation drops down to 90 days upon conviction. Similarly, if you have a child under the age of 16 in the car, or you yourself are under the age of 21, you're stuck with a year. Sorry kids.

Well, Thanks for the Information Mr. Legal Mustache, But Please Tell Me: Why Should I Hire You, or Any Attorney at All?

Great question, and one many of you prospective clients might have. Here's the deal: DWIs are expensive. The costs associated with a conviction are in the thousands, not to mention the collateral consequences that come in the form of immigration consequences, background checks and employment, military careers for those of you in the National Guard, security clearances, etc.

A test result above the legal limit does *not* mean that your case is over. There are avenues of approach to a DWI that can either get rid of the charges, or at least lessen their impact. Furthermore, there's two (yes, TWO) proceedings that you have to deal with: the criminal charges, and the civil license revocation. Oh, and a protip: Public Defenders won't handle the civil license stuff (you'll need a private attorney for that). 

Now, if YOU could save money (both in the short run and the long run) by hiring me for a first time DWI (which will cost between $3,000-5,000 depending on the level of charge and other circumstances), why would you choose to represent yourself or take a Public Defender (who won't handle the license revocation action and whose caseload is already sky-high)?

Especially if you are in the military, such as the Army or Air National Guard. I've served for 9.5 years in the Army National Guard of Minnesota. I understand that your career could be on the line (did you pay attention to those DWI briefs given at drill?). I'm not just a "barracks lawyer;" I'm an actual lawyer. And *you* get a discount on my prices.

So don't make the mistake of representing yourself: call me at (651) 337-9876 or email me at [email protected] Let me and my mustache fight for you.

About the Author

Brandon Lauer

-Mitchell Hamline School of Law, Juris Doctor, Magna Cum Laude -University of Minnesota Duluth, B.A. Political Science, Cum Laude -During law school, I spent time as a Student Attorney at both the State Public Defenders and the Wright County Public Defenders Offices -I also law clerked under b...


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