Written by attorney Maury Devereau Beaulier

DWI - Minnesota's B-Card

A “B Card" is a “restricted driver’s license." The Commission of Public Safety is authorized by Minnesota Statutes Sec. 171.09 to issue such a license to a driver upon meeting certain conditions for reinstating driving privileges, after serial DWI or DUI violations. In most instances, a "B" card is authorized after three violations in a lifetime.

Based on the Department of Public Safety Rules, a person whose driver's license has been cancelled as inimical to public safety and who has complete chemical dependency treatment and rehabilitation may apply for a restricted driver's license, a B-Card, provided that the person signs a sworn statement to never again consume alcohol. "Never" means just that. There can be no alcohol consumption for any reason, whether driving or not. It cannot be taken as part of medication or even as part of religious service. This prohibits even small amounts of alcohol as would be consumed at holy communion with wine, in certain cough medicine, in low-alcohol “near-beer," and so on. The restriction is quite absolute and exact: when a person agrees to the condition of a B-Card license, he or she is informed that the license is immediately canceled at the moment he or she takes a single sip of alcohol or consumes any amount of an illicit drug.

The B-Card restriction on no alcohol used to be a lifetime restriction. However, new legislation passed in 2011 and effective June 1, 2011, allows for the removal of the B card if the person has had a license for the last ten years with no new alcohol related infractions or B card violations.

The consequences of a B-Card cancellation are quite A person who violates the restrictions of a B-Card will have their license cancelled. This cancellation is significant since since before the person can again become validly licensed with a B-Card, he or she must again successfully complete chemical dependency treatment and rehabilitation. According to DPS rules, the rehabilitation process requires documented proof of alcohol/drug abstinence for a minimum period of:

  1. one year, for a person’s first rehabilitation;
  2. three years, for the person’s second rehabilitation; and
  3. six years, for the person’s third or subsequent rehabilitation.

There are also criminal penalties for a violation. If the violation involves driving a motor vehicle of any type, it constitutes a gross misdemeanor crime. If it does not involve driving, the violation is a misdemeanor crime.

A notification of a “B card violation" and revocation is sent by mail to the driver’s last know address listed on his./her license. That revocation is effective whether or not the driver actually receives the notice.

A driver may seek a hearing on issues related to the revocation of a “B card" by requesting a hearing in writing.

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