Roseville, MN DWI defense attorney Charles Ramsay talks about what makes a DWI a gross misdemeanor.
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A DWI becomes a gross misdemeanor when there’s at least one aggravating factor. Aggravating factors can include one qualified prior driving incident. That may be a prior DWI conviction within ten years or a prior loss of license for a DWI related offense within ten years. Another aggravating factor can be if there’s a child in the car at the time of the incident that’s 16 years of age or younger, or if the person has – well, I don’t want to go into the felonies just yet, but that’s when we have one aggravating factor at least within ten years. If we have three prior or three aggravating factors within ten years, that would take it up to a felony level.
A gross misdemeanor offense is characterized, again, or is defined by the maximum punishment, which is up to a year in jail and a $3,000.00 fine. That doesn’t mean that you’re gonna serve a year in jail or pay a $3,000.00 fine. That’s just what the maximum punishment is. In some instances, there’s a minimum punishment that the statute requires judges to follow. I think part of the job that we love so much is getting creative and finding ways to get around those statutory minimum penalties if we’re unable to beat the case completely.