Minnesota’s Ignition Interlock program is scheduled to launch on Friday, July 1. This ignition interlock program will have many far reaching effects on Minnesota drivers arrested for DUI’s.
For most DUI offenders arrested on or after Friday, July 1, the most noticeable and immediate change will be substantially longer license revocation times.
Currently a first-time offender who is below a .20 Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) would have a maximum license revocation of 90 days. As of July 1, that 90 day license revocation would only apply to those drivers who test below .16 BAC.
For those first-time offenders who test over .16 after July 1, the penalties are substantially ratcheted up. Those who test over .16 will be facing a 1 year (365 day) license revocation and no limited license is available to these drivers. For offenders who have multiple DUI offenses, their license revocation periods could range from 1 year to 6 years, depending on the number and timing of those offenses.
This is a significant and substantial change to the status quo. Historically, drivers have always had the option of waiting until they would be eligible for a limited license. Some would drive (75-80% according to MADD) others would wait. As of July 1, those waiting periods have substantially increased.
However, a corresponding change is that all drivers are eligible for ignition interlock almost immediately. Drivers who are revoked (generally their first or second offense) will be able, in some circumstances, to satisfy the requirements of Minnesota’s Ignition Interlock program before they even lose their driving privileges, and might never miss a day of driving.
Tomorrow, I will examine what Ignition Interlock is and how ignition interlock can get Minnesota drivers back on the road.