The DWI Law is Changing Again!
On July 1, 2011, the DWI landscape in Minnesota is changing. The new legislation will affect all DWI Law. Below are some of the most dramatic changes.
The new legislation will lower the .20 limit to twice the legal limit, .16. This is a major legislative shift since the average blood alcohol content of a DWI in Minnesota is .15.
License revocation periods are increasing. Under the current law a first time DWI without any aggravating factor would remain the same. If an individual has a blood alcohol content of over .16, this would result in a license loss for at least a year. This is up considerably from the previous rule which the license loss would be 180 days. As a general rule of thumb under the new legislation the State has doubled most license revocation.
The new legislation pushes ignition interlock. Ignition interlock is a breathalyzer attached to the vehicle’s ignition that only allows an individual to start the vehicle if the driver’s blood alcohol is under .02%. At random times the interlock device will require an individual to continue to give breath samples as long as the engine is running. Under the new law an individual can get their license back immediately if they are willing to install the ignition interlock device, and keep it on their vehicle throughout the revocation period. According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the device costs about $100 for vehicle installation, in addition to the $60 to $125 monthly service charge.
If an individual installs an ignition interlock device to their vehicle the judge at sentencing is not required to sentence a person to the mandatory minimum jail required by law in some DWI cases. Use of ignition interlock could result in a significant decrease in jail time where mandatory minimum jail ranges from 30-90 days in some situations.
Hiring an experienced DWI attorney has become more important with the State of Minnesota’s new legislation. For many individuals the loss of license is a far greater punishment than the criminal penalty.