Minnesota lawmakers may soon consider a proposal to get tougher on people who are convicted of drunk driving. According to the Star Tribune, a task force has proposed a number of changes to existing laws. As a DWI attorney St. Paul may know, the task force hopes imposing stricter consequences will encourage more first-time offenders to use ignition interlock devices, which studies say reduce subsequent DUIs. It is important for anyone facing a drunk driving charge to understand the state’s program and how it works.
When the devices are used
Under current Minnesota law, a DWI conviction is punishable by both criminal and administrative methods, including the ignition interlock program. The administrative penalties are as follows:
- A first-time offender with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.16 or higher and a child in the vehicle will have the choice of a year without driving privileges or a year with a restricted license and enrollment in the ignition interlock program.
- First-time offenders with a BAC of under 0.16 and/or having a child in the vehicle will lose driving privileges of 90 days and can choose between full driving privileges with the use of ignition interlock for 90 days, or 15 days with no driving privileges and a limited license for the rest of a 90-day period.
- Anyone who is convicted of a second or subsequent DUI and has a BAC of under 0.16 has a choose between a year without driving privileges or a year with an ignition interlock restricted license.
- Anyone who is convicted of a second or subsequent DUI and has a BAC of over 0.16 has a choice between two years without driving privileges or two years with an ignition interlock restricted license.
- People who refuse to submit to a breath test will have a year without driving privileges and can choose between 15 days of no driving privileges and the remainder of a full year with a limited license, or full driving privileges for the year with the use of ignition interlock.
Ignition interlock gives many drivers the option to keep their full driving privileges instead of merely getting to drive to and from work.
Applying for the program
As a DWI attorney in St. Paul may have seen, someone with a DUI conviction may only start driving once the DPS has received notice that the ignition interlock has been installed and the person has received a limited or restricted driving license. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety notes that in order to participate in the ignition interlock program, participants must be 18 years or older, be eligible for a Class D license and have valid automobile insurance. Moreover, the person’s driver’s license must have been revoked, canceled or denied due to a qualified impaired driving incident.
Anyone who has questions about Minnesota’s ignition interlock program should consult with a DWI attorney in St. Paul.