Thursday, June 16, 2011

MN DWI Law - Ignition Interlocks (Explained)

Although there may be some celebrating north of the border on July 1st as our Canadian cousins celebrate their country's birthday - here in the good old USA, and Minnesota specifically, the hip,hip hurrahs maybe in short supply. 

Come July 1, 2011, Minnesota is enacting new DWI laws that purport to substantially punish repeat offenders.  However, this new initiative may actually have the effect of getting Drunk Drivers back on the road sooner.  Specifically, the new legislation seeks to expand the use of Ignition Interlock technology- giving the violator the option of having one of these devices installed in their vehicle - in exchange for the chance to regain driving privileges sooner than what's afforded them under the current law.

Of course, as with most (new or established) government initiatives - there are going to be issues.  Some of the questions include: whether there is any guarantee that the device will be installed; how well will they work; should drivers that have a cancelled or revoked license be given the chance to regain their driving privileges so soon; and given that the device is a bit costly and may be optional to install, will it prevent most offenders from using it?

The State of Minnesota has set up an official ignition interlock website. However, as with most new laws, I and my fellow, experienced Minnesota Defense Attorneys have some concerns. Such as, not only will prospective users have to meet certain qualifications and follow rather precise procedures ... these devices could end up being very expensive to maintain and will most assuredly add to the financial penalties that a DWI causes.

What's new?

What is clear is that the new law may require first time Drunk Drivers with blood alcohol levels of (.16) or more - and all repeat offenders -  to install a breath-testing ignition lockout device on their vehicle. Proponents of these portable breathalyzers assert that they will keep vehicles from being able to be started if the driver's blood alcohol level is above (.02). The idea being --- If you are too drunk to drive, your car won’t start.


At the onset, the devices will cost approximately $50 to install and remove. On top of that, it may cost another $100 per month to monitor.

What Should You Do?

If this new legislation is any indication, Drunk Driving penalties are on the rise in Minnesota.  Therefore, it is more important than ever that if you or someone you love is facing a DWI charge that you seek out the services of an experienced Minnesota DWI Attorney - someone who knows what they're doing and who can ensure that you receive the best defense possible.

If you are facing a Drunk Driving charges, contact me today at (651) 234-1165 to set up a free, no obligation, consultation to learn about all of your options.

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