Can I Get a Minnesota DWI as a Passenger?

If you’re out drinking and find yourself in the passenger’s seat of a vehicle that is driven by a drunk or buzzed motorist, you may assume that you cannot be charged with a DWI. Since you’re not operating the vehicle, why should you get arrested as well?

Fortunately, Minnesota law clearly states that a person must either operate a vehicle or was in physical control of the vehicle to be charged with drunk driving. Whether you were a passenger in another person’s car, or another person drove your car, you don’t have to worry about facing DWI charges.

However, there are rare instances when a passenger can be charged with aiding and abetting the DWI. Also known as assisting someone in the commission of a criminal offense, common examples include planning a crime, providing help to the criminal while the crime is being committed, or hiding or attempting to hide the fact the crime occurred.

For example, if you were out drinking with a friend and you saw him/her consume several drinks—or even encourage it—and clearly show signs of intoxication throughout the evening, but you decided to let him/her drive you home anyway without much resistance, it is possible to be charged with aiding and abetting a DWI. This crime is punishable by the same penalties as a DWI.

Yet, as we mentioned before, this is rarely charged because there must be clear intent that you were trying to get your friend to consume enough alcohol to push them over the limit and commit a DWI offense. Due to the difficulties proving such intent, there is hardly any risk of getting a DWI as a passenger.

However, if you were charged with a DUI as a passenger in Minneapolis, contact Brockton D. Hunter P.A. today at (612) 979-1112 for a free consultation.