According to a recent Minnesota Department of Public Safety press release, preliminary reports showed that there were 823 DWI offenders arrested by 191 law enforcement agencies in the first 11 days of the statewide December DWI enforcement campaign.
While the legal blood alcohol concentration in Minnesota is 0.08, many divers arrested for driving while impaired registered 0.30 blood alcohol concentration or higher. The DWI arrests numbers include the arrests made by the County Sheriff offices of Dakota, Martin, Olmsted, Goodhue and south St. Louis, State Patrol St. Cloud district and the police departments of Robbins dale, Bloomington and St. Cloud.
The increased patrols were a part of Minnesota’s main traffic safety initiative called Toward Zero Deaths (TZD) and continued until New Year’s Eve. Nearly 400 law enforcement agencies put in around 8,500 extra hours to conduct patrols throughout the state.
Past December DWI Arrest Numbers
During December in 2008-2010 in Minnesota, there were 8,503 DWI arrests. Alcohol- related crashes resulted in 34 traffic deaths. In the last 5 years, Minnesota has a recorded an average of 170 traffic deaths each year related to drunk driving. This accounts to one-third of the total number of yearly road deaths of the entire state. The good news though the DPS reports that road deaths and crashes have declined in recent years. The DPS also added that the enhanced DWI campaigns have a lot to do with the continuous trend of decreasing alcohol related traffic deaths in Minnesota.
2010 Still Holds the Lowest Number of DWI Arrests
The lowest alcohol-related traffic deaths in Minnesota on record is in 2010 with only 131 deaths, which showed a significant decrease of 21% from 5 years ago. Even then, the fact that 791 were killed in alcohol-related crashes from 2006 to 2010 clearly suggests that drunk driving is still too big of a factor when it comes to road deaths in the entire state. There are approx 30,000 DWI arrests in Minnesota each year, with a ratio of one out of seven drivers having a DWI on record.
DWI Arrest Consequences
Depending on the drunk driver’s past DWI arrests on record and aggravating factors, a DWI arrest can result in suspension or revocation of license, heightened insurance rates, thousands in DWI fines and legal costs, and a possible jail time.
According to Minnesota mandatory penalties and sentences, a person arrested for DWI the first time can be charged with fourth degree DWI or misdemeanor which carries a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 90 days of imprisonment and successfully completing a chemical assessment.
A drunk driver charged with second or third degree DWI or gross misdemeanor can face up to $3,000 fine and/or up to 1 year of jail time.
An impaired driver charged with first degree DWI or felony may face up to $14,000 of fine and/or up to 7 years of jail time.
The factors affecting the sentencing of a DWI case are the aggravating circumstances, the level of a DWI charge, and how the appointed or private DWI defense attorney handled your case. Often, a DWI lawyer can often argue on the behalf of the accused for options other than jail such as sentence-to-service community work, staggered sentencing or electronic home monitoring.
Due to stronger sanctions implemented by Minnesota DWI laws, individuals arrested for DWI the first time with a BAC of 0.16 or higher, as well as repeat DWI offenders, may face even more severe sentencing. These DWI offenders must install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles for at least a year and must pay for the installation and monthly fees of using the device. Otherwise, they will lose their driving privileges for at least a year. The device will ensure that the driver is able to drive legally and safely by providing a breath sample free from alcohol in order for the vehicle’s engine to start.