Restricted Driver’s License | The B-Card Under Minnesota’s DWI Laws

DWI B-Card Minnesota

Driver’s licensing law allows DPS to impose restrictions on a person’s license to “assure safe operation.” Under DPS rules, a person whose driver’s license has been cancelled and denied for a third or subsequent impaired driving violation and who has successfully completed 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 any alcohol (not even in a religious service, in medication, in any other manner or amount, irrespective of whether the act involves driving).

Any violation of this “no alcohol” restriction of the B-Card results in immediate cancellation of that driver’s license (but is not a crime unless it involves operation of a motor vehicle). A subsequent rehabilitation is required to regain the B-Card.

Under DPS rules, the minimum period of time for establishing rehabilitation for which the person must prove total alcohol abstinence, is:

  • one year for the first rehabilitation,
  • three years for the second rehabilitation, and
  • six years for the third or subsequent rehabilitation.

It is only following such rehabilitation that the offender whose driver’s license has been cancelled may apply for a B-Card license. The rehabilitation requirements following a B-Card violation are not mandated by statutes, but have been established administratively by DPS rules.

Violation of the “no alcohol” restriction of a B- Card while operating a motor vehicle is a gross misdemeanor.

Update: Ability to Remove Alcohol / Controlled Substance B-Card Restriction

As of July 1st, 2012, the relevant statute was amended. A person may be able to remove the alcohol/controlled substance restriction after ten (10) years of no violations. Under Minnesota Statute 171.09, the commissioner is required to remove the alcohol/controlled substance restriction and issue to the person a duplicate drivers license without the restriction after 10 years of no documented consumption or impaired driving incidents.

CREDIT: The content of this post has been copied or adopted from An Overview of Minnesota’s DWI Laws, originally published by the Minnesota House of Representatives Research Department and written by legislative analysts Jim Cleary and Rebecca Pirius.

This is also part of a series of posts on Minnesota’s DWI Laws.

Leave a Public Comment

  • robert
    May 30, 2015, 6:03 pm

    i was pulled over oct 2014 my car was impounded, my b a c 0.0.74 i was charged statue 171,09.1 (f) (1) i was charged $50.00 court cost probation for 1 year and obtain driving privileges. case no, 86 cr 145 909. dmv, wants mn to have alchol assment, ignition interlock, sr 22 insurance, my progressive insurance agent has never heard of this before? since i wasn!t charged with any thing. i have to pay interlock every month im retired the only place i can drive to is aa meetings.whats this country comming to?

  • Robby
    June 25, 2014, 6:14 pm

    Has anyone bothered to bring up the complete unconstitutionality of this “B-Card”? The mere fact it is dictated by “administrative authority” by the DMV and not a statute is a red flag. Under this rule someone who happens to catch a cold and goes to the local Walgreens and buys Nyquil can have their license canceled. All the clerk has to do is call the DMV and say a person with a restrictive license just purchased Nyquil–without even consuming it! This is constitutional?

    A person who completes their specific punishments from any violation of the law (regardless of the number) should be free and clear. Punishing someone due to “their potential to act in a certain way, due to past events” for LIFE is a complete violation of our constitution. A lawyer worth his salt should be working to have this B-Card “rule” amended or abolished completely–not defending it.

    March 8, 2013, 9:45 pm


  • dan naas
    September 18, 2012, 12:35 am

    Aaron – you should update this. New legislation allows for the no alcohol restriction to be lifted if the person requests it after 10 yrs of no additional evidence of alcohol use. Still is totally ridiculous though. It is a travesty that DPS has rules that allow people to drive up to .08% BAC after their 1st AND after their 2nd offense, then after their 3rd, instead of simply restricting drivers license to 0%, they choose to restrict all of the persons activities to 0% BAC if the person needs to have a DL.

  • Thompson Hall Santi Cerny & Dooley
    June 1, 2012, 8:08 pm


    A person receives a restricted driver’s license, known as a B-Card, once they are a rehabilitated repeat DWI-offender. In most cases in order to get a B-Card the offender must complete chemical dependency treatment and rehabilitation (after a third DWI incident). After this, the only authorization to drive will be under a B-Card. With this B-Card that person must abstain from alcohol and illicit drugs permanently. The B-Card designation and restriction on a person lasts for that person’s lifetime. It is important to note that the restriction on absolutely no drugs and no alcohol is severe. It punishes incredibly trace amounts of alcohol, including even cough medicine and wine from a religious ceremony. Additionally, this restriction is in effect regardless of whether or not the person is driving. Any consumption of alcohol or drugs will result in the cancellation of the B-Card.

    For further information regarding the penalties that result from violating the restrictions of the B-Card, see this Q&A on DWI B-Cards.

  • gina mclay
    May 31, 2012, 10:42 pm

    I was just wondering if a person has 3 dwi offences and has to get a bcard is there any amount of time that they could wait and not have to have one? or does it ever go away?