The Civil Consequences of a DWI
Being charged with a DWI has civil consequences as well as criminal consequences. You need to understand both. Most people are familiar with the criminal aspect of a DWI. Let’s focus on the Civil component.
A driver’s license and the privilege to drive is given by the state of Minnesota. What the state gives the state can take away. If the state (Drivers’ Examiners) is given information that a person has been drinking and driving illegally (over the limit .08 or drinking and driving under 21) then the state will revoke the license to drive. The state is usually informed when a police officer sends the incident report to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The revocation goes on the driver’s license record. This revocation can be anywhere from 30 days to a lifetime depending on the underlying offense and prior record of the driver. Thirty days are allotted to contest the revocation by Judicial Review. Once this time has elapsed, the chance to have a judge review the revocation is forfeited. That is why it is important to contact an attorney immediately. An attorney can review the police reports and file the petition on the driver’s behalf.
By driving on the road with a license, the driver is implying consent to be tested for alcohol consumption if excess/illegal consumption is reasonably suspected. That is why the Petition to the Judge is called an Implied Consent or IC Petition. The State will respond via the Attorney General’s Office and a hearing in front of a Judge to determine whether or not the revocation of the license is valid will be conducted. Some counties will reinstate the driving license temporarily during this process or pending the hearing in front of the Judge.
This civil process does not necessarily follow in line with the criminal case. Sometimes the State is informed of the driving conduct before a criminal case is even initiated and the State revokes the driver’s license before a citation or complaint is issued criminally. Sometimes the State is not informed until a conviction is entered in the criminal case. The key is to make sure that the address on the driver’s license is accurate so that all correspondence is sent to the correct address and any action that needs to be taken by the driver is done so in a timely manner.
Although the criminal consequences seem to be the most important when dealing with a DWI case, it is essential to keep in mind the civil consequences as well.
Jennifer Casanova is a licensed attorney in Minnesota who specializes in criminal defense.
Casanova Criminal Defense
7455 France Avenue South, Suite 252, Edina, MN 55435 Phone: 612-968-1278
This entry was posted in Legal Corner.