A 50-year chronic lawbreaker from Wisconsin was arrested with his 15th DWI Sunday night after being pulled over for an observed traffic violation and failing the field sobriety tests. The man’s record showed 14 prior convictions for driving while impaired since 1991 but he still holds a valid Wisconsin driver’s license.
15 DWIs: Is it possible?
The rational behind penalties imposed by legislatures against drunk drivers in DWI cases are based on a basic principle that the mor a mistakes driver makes, the more dangerous they are, and the more damage they do, and as a result the worse penalties they should receive. Many people arrested for driving while impaired are not first-time offenders but those who are getting their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or in this case, their 15th DWI violation.
How a person can rack up 15 DWI charges is a big question for many Minnesotans… the answer to that question is not that plain and simple.
Some may argue that a factor why many DWI offenders keep racking up DWI offenses on their record may be due to the lack of state law in Minnesota preventing people with multiple DWI convictions from hitting the road again. There are drivers with more than 10 DWI convictions who may use different names or have DWI convictions in multiple states. Their real identity may not be figured out until these repeat DWI offenders get back in court after being arrested again. These drivers pay their fines, do their sentence, but continue to make the same mistakes by committing more DWI offenses. Currently, one out of eight Minnesotans has a DWI on record, and 40% of these will commit the same offense within a year.
Installing an Ignition Interlock Device
A representative of Minnesota Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) believed that one way of preventing certain people from committing multiple DWI offenses is to use an ignition interlock device, yet it took several years for Minnesota to make it a state law.
This device, when installed on a vehicle, requires the driver to blow into its breath-collecting chamber. The device collects the breath sample and analyzes the sample’s for the presence of alcohol. Once the device detects a certain level of alcohol in the breath, the vehicle’s engine wouldn’t start. The state of Minnesota now requires repeat DWI offenders or first-time offenders with a BAC level of 0.16 during their arrest to install ignition interlock device on their cars.
Despite the fact that Minnesota has already made it a state law to install ignition interlock devices on vehicles of certain DWI offenders, MADD still believes that Minnesota is not doing enough at present to prevent recurring DWIs. Leaders of the organization want every new vehicle to have a built-in system that’s able to detect the presence of alcohol each time the driver sits in the car. The main key to prevent recurring DWI violations is the combination of technology, family support, treatment and penalties, MADD added.
Is it possible for a DWI offender to be charged with multiple DWI charges?
The answer to this question is a big yes. In Minnesota, any arrested drunk driver can be charged with multiple violations related to DWI, or even multiple counts after being arrested. Minnesota DWI Laws determine the length and the severity of the sentences by taking each count of the multiple charges into consideration. The counts of charges are also the determining factors of whether the crime committed falls in the category of a misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor or felony.
Frequency of Minnesota DWI Violations & Penalties
In Minnesota, the total number of DWI violations committed by an individual during a 10-year period is the main determining factor of the degree of the offense and the severity of the DWI penalties imposed by the law against the offending driver.
First DWI offense within 10 years – This offense carries a maximum jail term of 90 days, a fine of up to $1,000, possible driver’s license suspension of up to 90 days or up to 1 year if the person’s BAC was over .15, and mandatory counseling classes.
Second DWI offense within 10 years – A 30-day mandatory jail time or a maximum of 1 year goes with this offense along with a fine of up to $3,000 and a possible 180-day license suspension or longer if there are other aggravating factors present or the BAC was .15 or more.
Third DWI offense within 10 years – The sentences of this offense are a mandatory 90-day jail term of or up to 1 year, up to $3,000 of fine, and a possible driver’s license suspension for more than 1 year or cancellation of driving privileges because the DWI offender is considered “inimical to public safety.”
Fourth DWI offense within 10 years – This offense, which is considered by the law as felony, carries a 180-day mandatory jail term or up to 7 years, up to $14,000 in fines and cancellation of all driving privileges.
Note: If the same DWI offender keeps committing DWI violations, each conviction is added up to the number of DWIs on record. As the number of DWI violations goes up, the sentences and penalties get higher.
DWI: A serious offense
A DWI violation is a serious offense especially in a state where sentences and penalties are more stringent, like in Minnesota. If you’re charged with a DWI in Minnesota, regardless of its degree and the number of times you were convicted of DWI in the past, you need to immediately contact Douglas T. Kans, an experienced DWI and criminal lawyer willing to do everything possible to protect you from loss of driving privileges, your wealth, or your freedom as a result of the DWI charge. You can contact Kans Law Firm, LLC at (952) 835-6314 for a free case consultation.