New Minnesota drunk driving law takes effect, Part II

As we discussed in our previous post, using an ignition interlock device can now help those who are convicted of drunk driving in Minnesota avoid having their licenses revoked. These devices have been available in Minnesota under a pilot program since 2009. 1,900 people are currently using them. Of that number, only four people have been charged with DWI since the ignition interlock device was installed.

In fact, the ignition interlock device has proved to be good news for at least some Minnesota drivers who were convicted of drunken driving. One Minnesota man, who had three previous DWI convictions, has been using the device for the past year. If he refused to use the device, his license would have been revoked for two years.

This Minnesota driver says that it did take him some time to get used to using the device. However, after having used it for so long, blowing into the tube has become a habit. He says that he plans to remove the device from his vehicle once the required year is over, but not because he did not think it was helpful. Indeed, he says he will always remember this experience of learning to drive while sober. In fact, he would consider continuing to use the device, but it is prohibitively expensive.

Being able to drive to work or school for most people is a necessity. A license suspension or revocation can affect a person’s ability to earn an income and support a family. In that way, the new law may actually be very helpful to people who are convicted of DWI.

Source: Marshall Independent, “Ignition device added tool to curb drunken driving,” Amy Forliti, 5 July 2011

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.

What to Do If You Have Been Charged with a Criminal Offense

People facing criminal charges in Minnesota often ask, “Can you defend yourself in court?” You can represent yourself in court when charged with a crime. Self-representation, however, is not typically in the accused's best interests, even if courts allow it.
Parents whose children have been arrested or accused of committing a heinous crime might wonder, “Can a minor be charged with a felony?” A minor aged 14 years or older but below 18 years may face felony charges in Minnesota.
People accused of or under investigation for assault might ask, “What are the charges for assault?” Minnesota has five levels of assault charges. First-degree assault is the most serious offense, and a conviction often results in the most severe penalties, like long prison time and hefty fines.