Most people wish for an extended holiday weekend, and with the announcement of this weekend’s DWI crackdown by state and local law enforcement, some Minnesotans could experience an extra long weekend…in jail.
Extra DWI patrols have become as much a staple of the Labor Day weekend as grilling in the backyard. Labor Day is the seventh deadliest weekend of the year for alcohol-related deaths according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety. State troopers and local police departments will be out in full force over the holiday weekend as part of a stepped up campaign to stop drunk drivers. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says nearly 400 law enforcement agencies will be participating in the crackdown this weekend. According to the DPS, each year in Minnesota, more than 30,000 people are arrested for DWI.
Short term consequences of a DWI arrest
While there’s never a good time to be arrested for drunken driving, being put in jail over a holiday can mean more time spent away from work than most people expect. First, if you are jailed for a DWI or DUI over a normal weekend, you won’t be able to get out until bail is set, you are charged or both. Usually, that is the Monday or Tuesday after the weekend. There are complicated “36 hour-rules” and “48 hour-rules” that must be complied with before law enforcement are forced to release you. A judge must find probable cause for the police to hold you and determine bail within 48 hours of arrest. Also, you must be charged or released within 36 hours of the time of arrest. However with the 36 hour rule the time does not run on the day of arrest, Sundays or holidays. Factor in a holiday weekend, with less staff and with judges not coming in until Tuesday, you will get to use some PTO hours or a vacation day at work on Tuesday or Wednesday just to be addressed. Now, consider any upcoming court dates (to keep your license, etc.), and any additional jail time, time off to go and renew your license and you’re going to spend even more time away from work.
Long term consequences of a DWI arrest
A DWI conviction can result in loss of your driver’s license for up to a year or more, thousands of dollars in costs and possible jail time. Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested with Blood Alcohol Count of 0.16 and above, must use ignition interlock if they wish to regain the ability to drive or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges. The nice part of interlock is that you can drive. The bad part is that it is expensive and you have to use it.
There are other long-term consequences to an arrest for driving while intoxicated. First, you will have a criminal record – one that can impact future employment opportunities (especially if jobs involve driving in any way). It may also result in the loss of a professional license in certain careers (medical professionals, commercial truck drivers, etc.) Second, you will have a civil case you have to follow up with to address your license. Any you better hurry up and address that case as you only have 30 days to file a case regarding your driving privileges.
Please plan ahead for a sober ride this holiday weekend. If you do know of anyone who does make a mistake and gets arrested for drunken driving, make sure that they have an experienced DWI attorney. Their attorney can help them mitigate the damage of a DWI arrest, and help them successfully navigate the court system.