Drunk Driving in Minnesota in 2023: What Is Legal Blood Alcohol Level?

Drink and drive laws in Minnesota

In Minnesota, the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08% or 80 ml of alcohol per 100 ml of blood. However, a motorist may still be arrested for impaired driving with lower BAC levels.

In most cases, one or two standard alcoholic beverages will cause you to attain or exceed the legal limit of 0.08% BAC. Since a person’s BAC is influenced by various factors, including gender and weight, this amount is only an estimate.

This piece aims to inform readers about Minnesota’s drunk driving laws. This site does not endorse or promote drunk driving in any state or region.

Driving while intoxicated (DUI) is a crime in Minnesota. According to records, Minnesota had 488 alcohol-related car crashes in 2021. Drivers with BAC levels higher than 0.08% were involved in 17% of these accidents.

Every year, the state of Minnesota keeps a record of drunk driving cases. They also implement DUI laws to prevent drunk driving.

Before driving, you must check your blood alcohol level. Using an alcohol breathalyzer, ensure your blood alcohol level is within Minnesota’s legal limit.

You can call a cab, use Uber, or a designated driver service as an alternative to driving.

Visit Minnesota’s Office of Traffic Safety’s website to stay up to date on DUI driving laws and regulations.

Legal Alcohol Limit When Driving in Minnesota

If you were caught driving with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher in Minnesota, you would be charged with drunk driving.

The government imposed BAC limits to reduce the number of accidents involving drunk drivers.

Although the state has established a legal BAC level of 0.08%, it is critical to recognize that everyone reacts differently to alcohol. After a few bottles, some people may lose consciousness.

Several factors can influence your BAC, including the following:

  • gender
  • weight
  • pharmaceutical drug usage
  • levels of stress
  • level of alcohol consumption

A BAC chart and BAC calculator can help you figure out the amount of alcohol you can drink before driving. Because everyone’s reaction to alcohol differs, these tools may not be ideal for everyone.

The most effective method to calculate your BAC is to use a certified alcohol breathalyzer.

Punishments for Drinking and Driving in Minnesota

The level of impairment is affected by blood alcohol content and other factors. When a person’s blood alcohol concentration is between 0.010% and 0.029%, they usually appear normal. 

However, as BAC levels rise, signs of alcohol-related impairment become more apparent.

DUI regulations vary from state to state. Driving under the influence may result in administrative and judicial consequences. To avoid penalties, have your blood alcohol level tested before you drive.

The following section provides an overview of Minnesota’s DWI penalties.

First DWI Offense in Minnesota

Jail Time First-time DWI offenders may spend 90 days in prison.
Fines A first DWI offense in Minnesota may result in up to a $1,000 fine.
License Suspension No driving privileges for 90 days.

The driver has the following options:

  • No driving privileges for 15 days and a restricted license for the remaining 90 days
  • Full driving privileges for 90 days with the use of an ignition interlock

With a guilty plea, the 90-day sentence is reduced to 30 days.

Second DWI Offense in Minnesota

Jail Time A second DWI offense within a ten-year period may result in one-year imprisonment.
Fines A second DWI offense within ten years may result in up to a 3,000 fine.
License Suspension
  • One year without driving privileges or;
  • One year of restricted ignition interlock driver’s license
Impoundment The offender’s vehicle license plate will be impounded.

Third DWI Offense in Minnesota

Jail Time Individuals who commit a third DWI offense within ten years of their previous convictions face a year in prison.
Fines A third DWI offender within ten years may result in up to a 3,000 fine.
License Suspension
  • The license will be revoked for “inimical to public safety.”
  • Upon enrollment in treatment, the offender will receive a one-year limited license with an ignition interlock restriction.
Ignition Interlock
  • After treatment, the offender must use an ignition interlock device for two years.
  • Removal of the ignition interlock device requires three years of no detected use of alcohol or drugs.
Impoundment  The offender’s vehicle and license plate will be impounded.

Fourth and Subsequent DWI Offense in Minnesota

Jail Time A fourth and subsequent DWI offense is considered a felony in Minnesota and is punishable by up to seven years in prison.
Fines A fourth and subsequent DWI offense may result in up to a $14,000 fine.
License Suspension
  • Revocation of license as “inimical to public safety.”
  • One year of a restricted license with an ignition interlock requirement upon treatment enrollment
Ignition Interlock
  • An ignition interlock-restricted driver’s license is required for three to five years after completion of treatment
  • Removal of the interlock device requires four to six years of no detected use of alcohol or drugs.
Impoundment Forfeiture of the offender’s vehicle and license plate.

When Can You Drink and Drive in Minnesota?

Many factors influence how people react to alcohol. Gender is one factor that affects a person’s blood alcohol level. According to research, men and women have different BACs.

Men have significantly higher levels of alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) than women. Men’s alcohol metabolism is fast because of these enzymes. As a result, males absorb alcohol faster than females.

If you’re not sure of the amount of alcohol you can lawfully drink before driving in Minnesota, the information below may be helpful.

Although the information below is backed up by research, it may not apply to everyone because people react differently to alcohol.

How Many Bottles of Beers Can You Drink and Drive in Minnesota?

Drink beer and drive in Minnesota

An individual with a lighter build may have a higher BAC.

For instance, a male weighing 72 kg (160 lbs) may have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.02% after ingesting a 12-ounce (350 ml) beer.

On the other hand, a lady of the same size who drinks the same quantity of beer might have a BAC of 0.03%.

Consume no more than one to two bottles of beer to keep your BAC below Minnesota’s legal limit.

How Many Glasses of Wine Can You Consume and Drive in Minnesota?

A standard wine glass (5 oz/142 ml) can hold up to 12% alcohol by volume.

In most cases, one to two glasses of wine are enough to reach the allowable BAC level in Minnesota.

How Much Whiskey or Vodka Can You Drink and Drive in Minnesota?

Each shot of distilled spirits, such as vodka or whiskey, contains 40% alcohol by volume.

If you must drive, one to two shots of whiskey or vodka will keep your BAC level below Minnesota’s legal limit.

Sticking to DUI Laws in Minnesota

There are numerous myths about alcohol and its impact on driving safety. Every driver must be aware of the dangers of DUI and take all reasonable precautions to avoid it.

Driving while intoxicated is not advised. When alcohol enters your bloodstream, you lose control of your vehicle and yourself.

Even if you’ve only had a bit of alcohol, don’t assume your BAC levels and driving skills are safe. If you are impaired, you should consider taking an alternate mode of transportation instead of driving.

If you plan to drive after drinking, check your BAC to verify if it is below the legal limit. A reliable alcohol breathalyzer can accurately determine your blood alcohol concentration level.

To stay current on Minnesota’s DUI laws, visit the state’s Office of Traffic Safety website regularly.

About the author

Ashley Cresswell

Ashley Cresswell is a former phlebotomist with a passion for road safety. During her time as a phlebotomist, Ashley administered over 1000 blood alcohol tests to impaired drivers and was shocked to discover that many of them were simply uninformed about the legal limits for driving under the influence. As a result, Ashley conducted extensive research on scientific studies and local laws to bring drivers a comprehensive resource on drink and drive limits from around the world.