Ignition interlock devices required for Minnesota DWI in July

For most people, driving is a necessity. We need to drive to get to work, to go to the grocery store and run various other errands – that includes Minnesota DWI offenders who have had their licenses pulled. That’s apparently why so many DWI offenders whose licenses are suspended wind up driving anyway.

It’s estimated that 75% of those who have lost their license due to a DWI will still continue to drive, mostly because they need to get back and forth to work. A law enforcement measure that goes into effect July 1 will address that reality.

Starting in July, breath testing ignition lockout devices will be mandated for those whose DWI sentencing has led to driver’s license suspension. (Among that group are those with repeat DWIs or one DWI where the BAC was above 0.16.) The new interlock device law, therefore, is a way to give offenders the option to drive, but only once they prove that they are sober.

The ignition interlock devices are installed at the offenders’ expense. They measure the blood alcohol concentration when a driver blows into the device. If the driver’s BAC level measures at above 0.02, the car will not start.

While some see the devices as a necessary tool to create safer roads, others suggest that those who are determined to drive despite a high BAC will most likely find a way to do so, making the new law somewhat useless. Others complain about the 0.02 BAC limit that the devices measure for. For most people, stopping for a single beer has little impact on their driving ability, and one mistake shouldn’t have to dictate their lives to such a great extent.

The individual circumstances of DWI cases vary to a great extent. Shouldn’t more effort be made to look into the individual circumstances of each offense, rather than throwing the book at every offender?

We will post more about the interlock device program when July approaches and it’s put to action.
Source : The Republic: “Car devices require drivers’ proof of sobriety,” Abby Simons, 12 Apr.2 011

He has won jury trial cases in misdemeanor and felony cases and in DWI’s and non-DWI’s. He is a member of the Minnesota Society for Criminal Justice, which only allows the top 50 criminal defense attorneys in the state as members. He is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

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