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Twin Cities Criminal Law Blog

Ignition interlock laws appear to be working

With as many public service announcements bemoaning drunk driving have aired during the holiday season, drinking and driving is still a problem in Minnesota and throughout the United States. However, a change in the law regarding the use of ignition interlock devices may be helping drivers think twice before getting behind the wheel.

According to a recent washingtonpost.com report, ignition interlock laws appear to be working. The article highlighted a study finding that traffic fatalities dropped by seven percent in states that require convicted drunk drivers to install ignition interlock devices. The study tracked fatalities during a five year period before states started requiring interlock devices.

Expect additional DWI enforcement during the holidays

With both Christmas and New Year’s occurring on weekends this year, the 2016 holiday driving season is going to be a huge travel event. Yes, the weather in Minnesota may slow things down, but low gas prices are going to keep people on the road.

According to the American Automobile Association, millions of Americans will be taking to the roads to get to loved ones to celebrate the holidays with family and loved ones.

How drunk driving offenders can benefit from DWI court

It’s two weeks before Christmas, and our readers likely know that the public service announcements bemoaning drunk driving prevention are arguably just as plentiful as retailers’ ads. Of course, additional patrols will be in force during week between Christmas and New Year’s. And yes, we support the efforts of law enforcement agencies because prevention is essential in reducing drunk driving accidents (thereby saving lives).

However, we believe that DWI courts have not received the recognition deserved for their roles in changing the culture of DWI enforcement across Minnesota.

Why would 9 similar crimes get 9 different sentences?

A Minnesota judge just wrapped up the trials of nine recruits to a terror network who attempted to join ISIS. The Judge handed down sentences that ranged from time served and probation in a halfway house to 35 years in prison.

What made the difference for each defendant’s sentence? All of them were accused of similar crimes under the U.S. Patriot Act. All were similar in age, and all were stopped before they could carry out their plans to join ISIS. Why, then, did the judge show more compassion to some defendants than others?

The facts of life with Halloween and drunk driving

Even with Halloween being on a Monday night, it would not be surprising if a number of Halloween revelers will make it a long weekend. For an unfortunate group of people, they may wake up in jail on Tuesday morning, or with the memory of spending half the night being processed after being arrested on suspicion of drunk driving.

Could texters be caught by undercover cops?

While you may not see as many public service announcements about it, texting while driving is still a major problem in the Twin Cities. Even though Minnesota law bans the practice, it is no surprising to see motorists checking their phones while in traffic. Some may be following turn-by-turn directions, while others may want to check the score of a football game.

The problems facing teens seeing parents who drink and drive

The popular parenting adage, “Do as I say, not as I do “ apparently does not resonate with teens when it comes to drinking and driving. A 2014 study published by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development found that teens who have driven with an intoxicated driver are much more likely to do it themselves.

Why field sobriety tests are so important to law enforcement

As the summer draws to a close, many will celebrate it with their last vacation before the school season, which begins in earnest after Labor Day. With many holiday weekends, there will be an increased police presence to stem the number of drunk drivers on the road. When people are stopped on suspicion of DWI, an officer commonly asks the driver to perform a series of sobriety tests.

What is an expungement and will it work for me?

In our last post, we discussed how being unable to get out of jail may affect how people plead to crimes, even if there is a good chance that they would be found not guilty at trial. Essentially, the need to get out of jail may lead people to plea to lesser crimes, without knowing the future consequences of pleading guilty.

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