North Dakota lawmakers are proposing new legislation regarding first-time DWI offenders and the severity of their penalties. Over the years, numerous states from all across the country have pressed for stricter DWI laws (including Minnesota) in order to decrease DUI-related arrests and fatalities.
Currently, state officials from North Dakota are making plans to join 15 other states that require all first-time DWI offenders to be placed behind bars. This push for stricter penalties came about after a fatal accident that killed two adults and their 18-month old baby in West Fargo.
The family was killed after a drunk driver was going the wrong way on I-94, thus striking their SUV in an area near Jamestown. The driver was found to have a BAC level three times over the legal limit.
Further south in Texas, DWI laws have become tougher and may possibly be even stricter. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, also known as MADD, have been trying to pass a law that requires first time DWI offenders to use ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. The ignition interlock device requires drivers to blow into the machine, and only allows the vehicle to start if there are no traces of alcohol found on the driver’s breath. The San Antonio Police Department is also requesting lawmakers to consider placing permanent DWI checkpoints throughout Texas.
At present, only 17 states in the entire country require the installation of the interlock device for first time DWIs. The National Transportation Safety Board, however, recommends that this law be passed all throughout the United States.
Apart from jail time for first time DWI offenders, North Dakota’s new legislation will also push for harsher penalties for repeat DWI offenders.
First Time Minnesota DWI and the Ignition Interlock Device
Currently in Minnesota first-time DWI offenders who are arrested at 2 times the legal BAC limit or more(0.16 alcohol-concentration) and all 2nd-time DWI offenders are required install and use the ignition interlock (at their own expense) or lose driving privileges for one to two years.