St. Paul, MN criminal defense attorney Robert Ambrose talks about what whiskey plates entail.
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So whiskey plates are not imposed against everybody who gets a DWI in Minnesota. Most first-time offenders will never need to get the whiskey plates. People also may hear them called as DWI plates. They’re white with black letters and numbers, start with the letter W. You only need to get them if you test at least twice the legal limit, so .16 or more, or you’ve had a prior DWI one the past ten years. Those are the most common times you’re going to be faced with a plate impoundment order, where you would have to get the whiskey plates. There’s also a Minnesota Supreme Court case that says cops can’t just pull anybody over with a whiskey plate. They have to have independent suspicion of a traffic infraction or some criminal activity to pull somebody over. So really, the point in Minnesota of whiskey plates has been diminished since that case, but it’s more of public shaming or a scarlet letter on people.