Minnesota Ignition Interlock and the New 2011 DWI Laws

May 1st, 2011

Effective July 1, 2011, there will be new DWI laws in Minnesota that will have an impact on the length of an individuals driver’s license revocation resulting from a charge of DUI.  Furthermore, in an earlier blog entry,we discussed the Minnesota Ignition Interlock Program and the positive affect it can have on a person’s ability to be able to drive a motor vehicle much earlier than they otherwise would have after being revoked for a DWI offense.  Under the new law, the ignition interlock will have an even greater impact on those wishing to participate in the program, and under certain circumstances, a more negative consequence for those that choose not to participate.

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter who was doing a story on the new laws and the interlock program. The reporter wanted to get my opinion specifically with regard to the interlock program. My initial reaction was that I think it will help a lot of my clients, especially those clients that have previous DWI convictions and are looking at very lengthy license revocations or cancellations.

Under the new laws, the interlock program will now make a significant difference to even first time offenders. For instance, under the current law, if a first time offender has a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 to .19, their license revocation would be for 90 days for which they can apply for a work permit after only serving a hard revocation period of 15 days. The new law will now allow these same drivers to forgo this 15 day hard revocation period, as long as they agree to install the interlock device in their cars.  For some, this will be very appealing, and to others… not so much.

However, if the first time offender has a BAC of .16 or more, under the new legislation he or she will now lose their driving privileges for 1 year as opposed to the current 90 days. As with those testing .08 to .19, the .16 or more driver can have their full driving privileges for the entire period of 1 year if he or she agrees to participate in the interlock program.  As you can see, all of a sudden the interlock program becomes that much more relevant to these first time offenders who may not have otherwise considered the interlock under the current law.

This is just one example of how the new DWI legislation will really change the dynamics of DWI defense. I will blog and add additional items with regard to the new 2011 legislation in the coming weeks.  However, as always, if you or a loved one has been charge with a DWI/DUI in Minnesota, it is extremely important to hire an experienced DWI Attorney to represent you throughout your case. The laws in Minnesota with regard to driving while impaired are only getting tougher and the consequences for those drivers charged with this offense can have a great impact on their lives.

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