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DWI Basics in MN

The legal alcohol-concentration limit in Minnesota is 0.08% and 0.04% for commercial drivers. The average alcohol-concentration level for a DWI arrest is 0.15%. Drivers can be arrested at lower levels if their driving skills are impaired. The average first time offender faces potential jail time and may lose their license privileges for up to a year. The costs of getting a DUI can reach up to $20,000 with court costs, an increase in insurance, and legal fees. It is important to make the right choices when dealing with a DWI. 

Stricter Ignition Interlock Laws 

Minnesota is cracking down on DWI’s by implementing stricter ignition interlock laws. The Minnesota Ignition Interlock Device Program requires all first time offenders above 0.16% (it used to be 0.20%) and all second time offenders to have ignition interlock. If the offender refuses they will lose their driving privileges for up to two years depending on the severity of their offense. DWI offenders with three or more offenses over a period of ten years will have to use ignition interlock for three to six years to regain their driving privileges. Minnesota also doubled the amount of time offenders will lose their driving privileges from 15 days to 30 days. Offenders that chose to partake in ignition interlock will be able to drive as soon as the system is installed in their car, which can cost anywhere from $50-$200.

About Ignition Interlock 

The participants get an interlock ignition system in their car where they must take breath tests in order to drive. The alcohol-concentration must be lower than 0.02%. Minnesota also requires a video camera in the offender’s car to record the tests so the DVS (Driver and Vehicle Services) can verify who is using the device. The device will randomly test the driver while they are operating the vehicle, these are known as “rolling tests.” The users must also have their systems calibrated monthly and the results are sent to the Department of Public Safety. These devices on average reduce repeat DWI offenses by 64%.  

Whiskey Plates 

Minnesota Statutes require a plate impoundment (whiskey plate) if the alcohol-concentration of the DWI was more than 0.16%. If the offender refuses the test and/or has a child of 16 years of under in the car they also must have a whiskey plate. Technically the police cannot pull over whiskey plates for no reason, but they can be an additional reason. The Department of Public Safety charges $57 to get the plates and another $57 to remove them.

Hopefully, Minnesota harshening the penalties for DWIs by using ignition interlock will decrease the amount of lives taken in 2014. Make sure to have a sober ride home for the Holidays!