As thousands of people hit the roads over December and the ensuing holidays, look for an increase in DWI patrols cracking down on drunk drivers from most local law enforcement agencies across Minnesota.
This statewide holiday DWI enforcement effort happens every year and is an effort to fight against the potentially deadly and dangerous period leading up to and around the Holiday season. Law enforcement officers will encourage motorists to make sure they make safe decisions and will identify and arrest individuals who will be driving while impaired.
As has been reported elsewhere, a great example of this increased enforcement effort can be found in Crow Wing County. In this county all law enforcement agencies actively participate in various enforcement projects which are backed by their own safety coalition called the Crow Wing County Passenger Safety Coalition.
This Minnesota DWI enforcement effort is a part of a federal traffic safety program dubbed as Towards Zero Deaths (TZD), a program funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The goal of the program is to create a safe driving culture in Minnesota through safe and smart driving behavior (which recent stats show is gaining support). TZD is focusing on the application of education, enforcement, engineering and emergency trauma response.
With Christmas parties and other celebrations, December is always a deadly time on Minnesota roads. In 2008 to 2010 in Minnesota, there were 89 traffic fatalities during the month of December in which 24 of these deaths were due to drunk driving. The record shows that the Minnesota’s alcohol-related road fatalities’ average each year is 170 deaths (av of the last five years). This makes up for one third of annual traffic fatalities of the entire state.
The good news is number of road fatalities in recent years has been declining. In 2010, statistics showed 131 deaths due to drunk driving which is the lowest number on record. According to State Patrol, the road tragedies were prevented by enhanced enforcement campaigns. These campaigns decreased the alcohol-related fatalities while causing over 30,000 DWI arrests annually. The DWI ratio to date is one out of seven drivers in Minnesota has a DWI on record.
Ways To Avoid The Dangers of Drunk Driving
A State Patrol officer advised the public to avoid the consequences of driving while impaired and keep away from the high costs and personal grief caused by a DUI in Minnesota by simple planning. The dangers of driving drunk can be avoided when an individual designates a sober driver, takes public transportation or a cab, or spends the night at the celebration’s venue. Relatives must also be willing to offer a safe ride if necessary.
Sober motorists can also help avoid alcohol-related road accidents by calling 911 to report any suspicious driving behavior and include in their report the license plate and location.
Mandatory Penalties and Sentences for DWI
A first-time DWI charge carries a maximum fine of $1,000 and/or jail time of up to 90 days, which is equivalent to any potential misdemeanor statutory penalty. More stringent DWI sanctions will be imposed to drivers with BAC level of 0.16 or over. Stronger penalties are also waiting for repeat DWI offenders as stated in DWI Mandatory Penalties and Sentences.
What To Do If You Get a DWI in Minnesota
Celebrate the holidays safely by avoiding the deadly combination of drinking and driving. However, if you are charged with DWI in Minnesota, you can potentially escape from harsh sentencing with the help of an experienced Minnesota DWI attorney immediately. Douglas T. Kans is willing to provide you with comprehensive legal services for the best possible resolution of your DWI/DUI case. You can contact Kans Law Firm, LLC at (952) 835-6314 for a free case review.