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Nicole Bettendorf
Nicole Bettendorf
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2011 Legislative Changes to Include Ignition Interlock for DUI Offenders

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As Mike Bryant pointed out in a previous blog, the Minnesota legislature has yet, again made changes to several aspects of DUI laws. One of the more prominent changes has been the integration of the ignition interlock device. What started out as a pilot program has evolved to become a state law. The ignition interlock is a piece of equipment placed in a motor vehicle that is “designed to measure breach alcohol concentration and to prevent a motor vehicle’s ignition from being started by a person whose breach alcohol concentration measures .02 or higher on the equipment.”

Starting July 1, 2011, certain DUI offenders who have their licenses revoked or canceled may be allowed to bypass certain “hard revocation periods” and continue driving with this device in their vehicles. Currently, first time DUI offenders with a blood alcohol concentration between .08-.19 with no aggravating factors would lose their licenses for up to 90 days. Those same offenders could apply for a work permit but had to wait 15 days. The 15 days represented the “hard revocation period.” Under the new law, these same DUI offenders circumvent this waiting period by installing the ignition interlock device in their motor vehicles.

This new piece of legislation also includes changes involving alcohol concentration and driving restriction waiting periods. Prior to the new enactment, alcohol offenders with a BAC of “.20 or more” would have their driver’s license revoked for twice the period of time otherwise provided. The new legislation changes the BAC level from .20 or more to “twice the legal limit,” which in Minnesota means a BAC of .16 or more. The applicable revocation period was also changed from “twice the period of time” to “not less than one year.”

Applying the new law to the example of first time DUI offenders above, first time DUI offenders with a BAC of .16 or above (with no other aggravating factors) would now lose their licenses for 1 year as opposed to 90 days under the current law.

The 2011 legislative changes to Minnesota’s DUI laws can be complicated and sometimes difficult to understand. That is why it is all the more crucial that when you are charged with a crime such as a DUI, you immediately seek advice from an experienced attorney. The sooner you talk to an attorney, the better your chances that all of your options can be explored. At Bradshaw & Bryant, we have been helping people with all levels of charges from DUI and drug charges to physical assaults and homicides. We have put the time in to court to make a difference for you.