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.

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

Minnesota’s new marijuana law legalizes marijuana for recreational purposes for adults 21 years or older. The new law makes it unlawful for employers to take action against their employees for off-duty cannabis use. It also prohibits them from refusing to hire an applicant who tests positive for cannabis or requiring applicants to take pre-employment cannabis testing.
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