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Minnesota Driver's License Suspension and Revocation

Minnesota Department of Public Safety:
Driver’s License Suspension

The MN DPS can revoke your license for up to one year for violation of the DWI statutes. When your license is revoked, you will be eligible after the period of revocation to have your license reinstated. After a third or further offense, your license may be canceled. Cancellation is technically indefinite, but you may be eligible for reinstatement if you can meet certain requirement.

Minnesota Dual Revocation System

In 1974, Minnesota became the first state to grant authority to an administrative agency to revoke driver’s licenses. As such, a driver’s license may be suspended either by the Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety upon arrest or test refusal or by the courts upon conviction for DWI.

Administrative Revocation

The majority of suspensions are initiated as a result of the arrest for violating the criminal code or for refusing to take a blood alcohol concentration test. In other words, administrative revocation occurs independently of criminal proceedings. The justification for administrative revocation is accelerated imposition of license revocation to provide more immediate protection for the motoring public. Whether or not the justification is reasonable, the effect is definite: Administrative revocation takes driver’s licenses quickly.

If your blood alcohol concentration test returns a result over .08% blood alcohol concentration, or if you refuse the test, then the police will confiscate your driver’s license, issue you a notice of revocation, and issue you a temporary license that is good for seven days.

You, or ideally your attorney, must contact the Department of Public Safety within 30 days in order to challenge the administrative revocation at an administrative hearing. If you or your attorney does not request a hearing within the allotted time, then you will not be granted a hearing. If you do not have a hearing, then your suspension will begin automatically.

In 1995, for example, nearly 1 in 10 arrests resulted in a lesser conviction than DUI. In that same year, nearly as many, 8 percent, of arrests resulted in no conviction on criminal charges. The implication is that almost 2 in every 10 arrests may have valid challenges to administrative revocation.

Why would you even be considering not hiring a criminal defense attorney and not challenging the administrative revocation?

Judicial Revocation

The second method by which the State can revoke your driver’s license is upon conviction of a revocable offence, such as DWI. Court-ordered revocations are identical to administrative revocations, except that you cannot challenge the judicial revocation. You can only appeal the conviction, which will have the effect of appealing the revocation.

If the arresting officer failed to read you the implied consent advisory, or if an administrative or judicial hearing otherwise determines that revocation is invalid and rescinded, then there should be no administrative revocation. In such circumstances, you will retain your license until the criminal court proceedings are concluded. If you are convicted, then the court will be required to revoke your license.

Once criminal proceedings are initiated, you should hire a criminal defense lawyer regardless of whether your license has yet been revoked. Contact DWI defense attorney Patrick Oden if you need a DUI lawyer to represent you at an administrative driver’s license revocation hearing or at criminal proceedings.

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