Minnesota Statutes 169A.24 defines Felony DWI also known as FIRST-DEGREE DRIVING WHILE IMPAIRED:

“A person who violates section 169A.20 (driving while impaired) is guilty of first-degree driving while impaired if the person:

  1. Commits the violation within ten years of the first of three or more qualified prior impaired driving incidents;
  2. Has previously been convicted of a felony under this section; or
  3. Has previously been convicted of a felony under:
    • Minnesota Statutes 2012, section 609.21 (criminal vehicular homicide and injury, substance-related offenses), subdivision 1, clauses (2) to (6);
    • (ii) Minnesota Statutes 2006, section 609.21 (criminal vehicular homicide and injury, substance-related offenses), subdivision 1, clauses (2) to (6); subdivision 2, clauses (2) to (6); subdivision 2a, clauses (2) to (6); subdivision 3, clauses (2) to (6); or subdivision 4, clauses (2) to (6); or
    • (iii) section 609.2112, subdivision 1, clauses (2) to (6); 609.2113, subdivision 1, clauses (2) to (6), subdivision 2, clauses (2) to (6), or subdivision 3, clauses (2) to (6); or 609.2114, subdivision 1, clauses (2) to (6), or subdivision 2, clauses (2) to (6).”

In addition to any criminal case, there will be driver’s license implications to any DWI. It is important for you to know that you only have 30 days to challenge any license implications in Court. From the time you are pulled over, the clock is ticking, and it is important for you to talk to a lawyer.

There are ways to successfully challenge a charge of DWI and to challenge the driver’s license suspension or revocation. One way is challenging the “stop” itself. For example, if the police officer says you were speeding and you do not believe you were, you could contest the stop and have the case dismissed, including the license revocation or suspension. Another way to challenge the charge and/or the revocation is to challenge the test itself.

Another important fact about Minnesota DWI is that it is an enhanceable crime. This means that each subsequent DWI will be more serious, and each subsequent license revocation or suspension will be more serious also.

The most common Felony DWI is a DWI with 3 prior qualifying DWI convictions. The potential penalties are: “imprisonment for not more than seven years, or to payment of a fine of not more than $14,000, or both.”

This is a serious charge with serious implications, and mandatory minimum sentences.


“It is important to take these types of charges seriously, because they can affect both your home and your working life. If you plead guilty, you may later regret it. Contact me today to discuss your options, and possible defenses. Give yourself a chance to fight these charges and not have them follow you around for years, or for the rest of your life.”

Elliott Nickell


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