The Criminal Case of Felony DWI
A person may be charged with a felony - first degree - DWI under the following circumstances: (1) The driver has within the previous ten years, three or more qualified prior impaired driving incidents. A prior impaired driving incident would include DWI convictions or Implied Consent license revocations for separate impaired driving incidents; or (2) The driver has previously been convicted of a felony DWI crime.
A person who is convicted of a felony DWI may be imprisoned for not more than seven years UNLESS the person has a prior criminal history which can enhance the potential sentence; a fine of not more than $14,000; or both.
Early Release Limited
Even more compelling, a person sentenced to incarceration in prison for felony DWI is not eligible for early release unless the person has successfully completed a chemical dependency treatment program while in prison.
The Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines recommend a stayed sentence of 36 months, 42 months, and 48 months for a felony DWI conviction for a person with zero, one, or two criminal history "points" respectively, and they specify a presumptive commit-to-prison for a person with a criminal history score of three or more.