On Jan 19, 2010, Governor Pawlenty has proposed new laws intended to increase the restrictions on those convicted of DWI offenses, as well as lower the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) aggregating factor from .20 to .15.  

Gov. Pawlenty stated that “drunk drivers will no longer be able to get behind the wheel of a car without proving their sobriey.”  It’s a tough claim to sell, but the proposal will attempt to enforce Gov. Pawlenty’s statement.  Included in the Governor’s proposal:

• DWI offenders will be required to use breath activated ignition systems or face a longer period of not driving;

• The alcohol concentration limit threshold for enhanced administrative sanctions would be lowered from 0.20 to 0.15. If first time offenders choose not to use breath activated ignition systems, they will lose driving privileges for six months to a year depending on their blood alcohol concentration;

• Drivers convicted of a second DWI offense will face enhanced DWI sanctions including not being able to drive for a period of two years unless a breath activated ignition device is installed;

• Offenders with three or more DWI convictions will be required to install breath activated ignition systems for at least three years.

Although it appears that someone convicted of a DWI will still be able to drive another car, the restrictions are noticeable.  

One of the difficulties with the current system of determining if an individual is too intoxicated to drive is that the BAC does not offer an accurate examination of the individuals ability to function.  Some individuals with a .02 BAC can be under the influence to the extent that it impairs their ability to drive.  The law has them covered under the traditional DWI laws, all the prosecution needs to show is that the individual was having problems driving and that they had been drinking, and that the problems driving were because of the drinking.

On the other hand, some people can have a BAC of .12 and their motor control is not affected.  This is generally due to excessive drinking in the past, but unfortunately they are still effected under the law.  If that person is pulled over for a tail light out, or expired tabs.  They will be arrested, charged, and possibly convicted.

It’s important to realize that our DWI laws are not perfect, and we cannot make they perfect simply by making they stricter.  Unfortunatly, until we develop a way to accuratly test someone’s coordination, these laws will continue to become stricter and stricter.

If you are facing possible DWI charges, get the facts, call us and we will help you understand your case.  We will fight for you and help you get the best outcome possible.

Thank you,Landon J. Ascheman, Esq.Landon@AschemanSmith.com(B) 612.217.0077 (C) 651.280.9533 (F) 651.344.0700
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