It’s no secret that law enforcement authorities significantly step up drunk driving patrols during certain holidays. This year, with St. Patrick’s Day in the rearview mirror, more Minnesotans than ever are facing a drunk driving charge.
Number of St. Patrick’s Day DWI arrests has more than doubled in last five years
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Traffic Safety, back in 2008, just 165 DWI arrests were made in connection with the stepped up patrols surrounding the St. Patrick’s Day holiday. But, with the focus on DWI enforcement growing stronger, each of the last five years has seen a growing number of drunk driving arrests made in connection to St. Patrick’s Day.
In 2009 and 2010, the number of St. Patrick’s Day DWI arrests grew to 218 and 225, respectively. By 2011, the number reached 287. In 2012 – when St. Patrick’s Day fell on a Saturday – a stunning 346 suspects were arrested for allegedly driving while intoxicated.
This year, St. Patrick’s Day DWI arrests in Minnesota reached their highest level in more than five years. Preliminary reports put the number of drunk driving arrests over St. Patrick’s Day weekend – March 16 and 17 – at 400.
Talk to a Minnesota DWI defense attorney if you’ve been picked up
If you were one of the Minnesota drivers picked up over St. Patrick’s Day weekend for DWI, it is important to contact a drunk driving defense attorney as soon as possible. Even first time DWIs in Minnesota carry significant penalties, including the loss of your license for up to a year, thousands in fines and other costs, and for some offenders, even jail time. Convicted offenders arrested at a blood alcohol concentration of .16 or above or repeat offenders may also have to submit to the use of an ignition interlock.
Yet, while penalties for drunk driving are stiff in Minnesota, you may have many viable options for building a legal defense and getting charges reduced or dropped. For example, perhaps the police did not have a valid reason to stop your car, did not properly administer sobriety tests or failed to honor your right to consult with an attorney. When law enforcement officers did not adhere to proper procedure during your arrest, you may be able to get key evidence against you thrown out.
The availability of specific legal defenses depends on the unique individual circumstances of your case. If you’ve been charged with driving under the influence, contact a Minnesota DWI attorney today to protect your rights.