It’s that time of the year again. You packed up your vehicle, left your house in North Dakota, and are headed to your lake cabin in Minnesota. Once you get there, you want to go to that hopping bar on your lake to meet up with your buddies. You get there, you have a few cold ones, and then you head back to the cabin. But before you get there, you get stopped by a law enforcement officer because you didn’t signal when you turned onto the road to your cabin.
This traffic stop turns into a Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) arrest. You get taken to jail, you take a breath test, and the results are above .08. You are provided a court date for your DWI. But you also get a document titled “Notice and Order of Revocation” stating that in seven days, your license is going to be revoked. But you don’t have a Minnesota license, so what does that mean for you? Hold tight while I explain.
The State of Minnesota, through the Department of Public Safety, is giving you notice they are revoking your Minnesota driving privileges. Minnesota doesn’t have the authority to revoke your North Dakota privileges. So, after those seven (7) days, you won’t be able to drive in Minnesota for the duration of the revocation period. How long your license will be revoked depends on the number of prior offenses you have, and the result of your chemical breath test result at the jail.
Right To Challenge
However, you have a right to challenge the revocation of your driving privileges in Minnesota by filing what is known as a “Petition for Judicial Review”, and serving it on the Commissioner of Public Safety within 30 days of receiving the Notice and Order of Revocation document. If you file that Petition, you’ll be granted a hearing to challenge the revocation, after which, a judge will determine if there were proper grounds to revoke your driving privileges. Even if you file the Petition, your license may remain revoked in Minnesota pending the outcome of the hearing.
What Happens To My North Dakota License?
Just because Minnesota doesn’t have the authority to revoke your North Dakota driving privileges, doesn’t mean that your North Dakota driving privileges can’t be suspended based on the DWI allegations. Minnesota and North Dakota are both members of the Interstate Driver License Compact. This means that both states have agreed to share your driving conduct history with one another, such as a DWI conviction. Minnesota will inform North Dakota about the DWI. At that time, North Dakota will send you a letter telling you they received information from Minnesota about the DWI “conviction”, and give you notice that they are going to in turn suspend your North Dakota driving privileges.
But this doesn’t mean that North Dakota will only find out if you plead to or are found guilty of DWI in Minnesota. While typically the term “conviction” references a criminal finding of guilt, this term is defined differently for license suspension/revocation matters. North Dakota law defines “conviction” as an administrative action taken by another state which resulted in a license suspension for DUI/DWI. So if you lose the Implied Consent Hearing in Minnesota, but aren’t convicted of the actual DWI, North Dakota could still suspend your driving privileges. Furthermore, if you did not Petition for Judicial Review in Minnesota, North Dakota could take action even while your DWI charge is still pending.
How Long Will I Be Suspended?
An out-of-state DUI offense has a lot of moving parts, as you can tell from the above paragraphs. It gets even more complicated because the timing of the license revocation in Minnesota and the suspension in North Dakota can change the outcome with respect to your driving privileges. For instance, if you plead guilty to a first offense DWI in Minnesota, and your breath test results were between .08 and .16, your Minnesota revocation would reduce from 90 days to 30 days. Then North Dakota would receive the conviction, and suspend your license for 91 days, but you would be eligible in North Dakota for a temporary operator’s license (work permit) after your North Dakota license has been suspended for 30 days.
How Do I Get My Driving Privileges Back?
If your driving privileges are suspended or revoked in either or both states, there are a series of steps to take to get your license reinstated once you are eligible. These, much like the above issues, are dependent on a number of factors. However, in both states, you will need to pay a reinstatement fee. In North Dakota, that reinstatement fee is $100. In Minnesota, the fee is currently $680. Additionally, depending on the circumstances, you may also be required to get SR-22 High-Risk Insurance through your insurance provider, obtain a chemical dependency evaluation that assesses whether or not you should undergo any follow-up alcohol courses, or even take a DWI Knowledge Test at your local DMV.
What is important to know is that even if your license is reinstated in your home state, you still will not be eligible to drive in the other state your license was suspended or revoked until you are reinstated in that state. Furthermore, if your license is up for renewal in your home state, you will not be allowed to renew your license until your out of state suspension is cleared up.
What Should I Do?
Get an attorney. Quite frankly, circumstances like this can become confusing, and you may regret the decisions you make in criminal and administrative proceedings for months or years afterward. Pleading guilty criminally to a DWI in Minnesota can have immediate and future consequences in both Minnesota and North Dakota, of which you may not be aware. Not challenging a license revocation in Minnesota can affect your North Dakota license when a suspension could have been avoided. For example, North Dakota might wrongfully suspend your license because it learned from Minnesota about an administrative conviction, even though it has not yet occurred, and even if you submit a Petition for Judicial Review. These kinds of things do happen, and a lawyer can help you defend your rights. If you are arrested and face a DWI charge and a license revocation in Minnesota, the best advice is to contact an attorney so that you are fully informed of the possible direct and collateral consequences.
If you have a criminal issue in Minnesota or North Dakota, including DUI and DWI, please do not hesitate to call our Criminal Defense Team in Fargo at 701-297-2890.
This is general information and does not mean that the information provided in this article will be the exact same in your case.