State Patrol Using Traffic Cams and Cell Phones to Catch Drunk Drivers

According to the Associated Press, Minnesota’s Department of Transportation monitors over 500 cameras to observe traffic throughout the state, with most focusing on the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. More and more, the Minnesota State Highway Patrol is relying on this network of traffic cameras and citizens reporting drunk drivers on the road.

After a driver spots a suspected drunk driver and calls 911, the dispatcher uses the traffic cameras to locate the vehicle. Law enforcement officers are notified of the location and move in to stop the driver. The AP report notes that cell phone reports by other drivers result in around 20 arrests for driving while intoxicated (DWI) each day.

Last year, Minnesota State Highway Patrol officers received 42,000 complaints from drivers resulting in over 650 arrests for various traffic offenses, according to a Fox News report.

Serious Penalties

A drunk driving conviction can have serious consequences. Even first-time misdemeanor offenders can face up to 90 days in jail and fines up to $1,000.
Repeat offenders, however, face some of the most serious penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences. For a second offense within 10 years of a prior conviction, Minnesota statutes provide for a mandatory 30 days in jail. The minimum sentences increase with each subsequent offense:

  1. Third subsequent conviction within 10 years of a prior conviction: 90 days minimum incarceration, with at least 30 days to be served consecutively in a jail or local workhouse
  2. Fourth subsequent within 10 years of a prior conviction: 180 days incarceration, with at least 30 days to be served consecutively in a jail or local workhouse
  3. Fifth subsequent offense can result in up to one year with at least 60 days to be served consecutively in a jail or local workhouse

It may be possible to avoid the mandatory sentence, however, and be sentenced to a period of intensive probation. Even in this case, you may be required to spend some time in jail.

Working With an Attorney

If you have been arrested or face drunk driving charges, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Max Keller has won countless jury trial cases involving misdemeanors and felonies, sex crimes, and 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. Max is a frequent speaker at CLE’s and is often asked for advice by other defense attorneys across Minnesota.

Years of Experience: Approx. 20 years
Minnesota Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: State of Minnesota Minnesota State Court Minnesota Federal Court 8th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals State of Maryland

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

Minnesota recently passed a public safety bill that brings sweeping changes to the state’s juvenile justice system. While minors sometimes run afoul of the law, the juvenile justice system seeks to account for the differences between children and adults. Therefore, while the penalties for adults convicted of crimes focus on punishment, those for juveniles are aimed at diversion and restorative practices.
If a county medical examiner’s work is called into question in one case, it can affect all those they were a part of. An independent review is underway of murder cases involving the testimony of the long-time medical examiner in Ramsey County, Minnesota. The review comes in response to a wrongful murder conviction that was recently vacated on the basis that the medical examiner gave flawed medical testimony.
You might ask how plea bargains work if you are considering settling your criminal case by skipping the trial phase. A plea bargain in Minneapolis, MN, happens when a criminal defendant agrees to plead guilty or no contest instead of having the prosecution prove his or her guilt at trial. The prosecution agrees to reduce the charges, recommend less harsh penalties, or drop the charges altogether in exchange for a guilty plea.