As summer draws to a close and the fall months begin, Minnesota has routinely experienced some of the highest DWI rates of the year. An average of nearly 27,000 arrests are made for DWIs annually in Minnesota.
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Of course, driving under the influence happens during all times of the year, but there are definite trends, when it comes to DWI occurrence and arrests. The number of yearly drunk driving arrests has fallen sharply over the last five years, by an estimated 15,000 cases, partly due to increased penalties and more public education. Still, one in four deaths on Minnesota roads is attributed to drunk driving, and law enforcement is on the alert.
Late August represents the peak of drunk driving arrests. September arrest rates generally stay high, especially over the Labor Day weekend, as summer transitions to fall. The rates drop slightly in November, and dramatically increase as December begins and the holiday season approaches. Minnesota also leans toward the high side when it comes to DWI rates compared to other states across the Nation. According to the CDC, 2.4 percent of Minnesota drivers report having gotten behind the wheel after drinking too much, compared to the 1.9 percent national average.
Drunk Driving in Minnesota
In Minnesota, it is against the law to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Law enforcement officials are well aware of the numbers when it comes to drunk driving incidents. Motorists are more likely to encounter officers during peak seasons when they are keeping an eye out for offenders. A blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher could lead to an arrest. Recent updates to the DWI laws in Minnesota toughened penalties, particularly for repeat offenders. No longer is drunk driving considered a civil matter in Minnesota, rather, it is a criminal offense.
A DWI arrest can lead to the loss of a driver’s license, thousands in fees and even jail time. Those arrested with a blood alcohol content recorded at .16 or higher must have an ignition interlock installed or lose driving privileges for at least one year. A DWI attorney in St. Paul can provide counsel to those facing DWI charges in Minnesota. As with any other arrest, those charged may seek a trial and may seek out legal representation to assist with their case.