DWI or DUI:
Minnesota law does not distinguish between DWI (driving while impaired) or DUI (driving under the influence). Both are called DWI in Minnesota. A first-time DWI with a blood-alcohol level between 0.08 – 0.19 (with no aggravating factors, Minn. Stat. §169A.03, Subd. 3) is a 4th Degree DWI, a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a year in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000. If you fit this description, you will be initially charged with two DWIs, not one.
So, Why Was I Charged With Two DWIs
If you are arrested for doing it (in the 4th degree), you will be charged with two different crimes, but don’t panic. You’re only facing one charge.
Per se DWI: The “per se” DWI statute, Minn. Stat. §169A.20, subd. 1(5) makes it a crime to “drive, operate, or be in physical control” of a motor vehicle if your blood alcohol is 0.08 (the units measured are the number of grams of alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood; per 210 liters of breath; or per 67 milliliters of urine).
Impaired: The “impaired” DWI statute, Minn. Stat. §169A.20, subd. 1(1) makes it a crime to “drive, operate, or be in physical control” of a motor vehicle if you are under the influence of alcohol.
The prosecutors charge both so they can make one or the other stick, depending on the evidence they have. The state can try to prove the former with a blood, breath, or urine test. They can try to prove the latter by observation (your behavior) or other proof that you have drunk alcohol. You won’t actually be fighting two charges.
Consult a lawyer. Call me for a free consultation.