OUR MISSION: TO ELIMINATE IMPAIRED DRIVING
This year, the DWI Task Force is lobbying in support of H.F. 3555 / S.F. 3534. Its goal is to increase ignition interlock participation by eliminating barriers and increasing incentives for enrollment. Ignition interlock ensures public safety by preventing impaired driving and reducing recidivism. The bill has four components:
- Eliminate the DWI Written test: The DWI written test is unnecessary because Minnesota law requires offenders to take an additional test to obtain a valid driver’s license. The DWI-specific educational portion of the written test is covered by DWI educational courses ordered by courts that are better tailored to each offender’s needs. In addition, there is no evidence to suggest that the test is effective in reducing recidivism, or that it is standardized or based on best practices. Removing the DWI written test requirement will allow more individuals to enroll in ignition interlock; obtain a valid driver’s license; and drive legally; all of which improve public safety on Minnesota’s roads.
- Limit the Insurance Certificate Requirement: Only two types of drivers are required to provide an insurance certificate: people who had their driving privileges or licenses revoked for no insurance, and people who participate in ignition interlock. The former is reasonable, but the latter is unnecessary because a person must have valid insurance in order to enroll in ignition interlock. The insurance certificate requirement treats DWI offenders differently if they apply for ignition interlock as opposed to a standard DWI offender. While the certificate requirement would reasonably remain for those with prior insurance-related convictions, it is a needless, redundant requirement that is difficult to procure and serves as an unnecessary barrier to those without prior insurance-related convictions who want to enroll in ignition interlock.
- Replaced the Limited License with Conditional Reinstatement for Ignition Interlock Participants: Limited licenses are in place to ensure that individuals drive legally. However, there are many restrictions, including driving hours, days, and purposes. Individuals who have variable work hours have great difficulty in changing their limited license in a timely manner because of the process required to make that change. Ignition interlock itself ensures that individuals drive legally without unnecessary restrictions that hinder an individual’s ability to provide for their family. Furthermore, this would eliminate confusion amongst law enforcement for those individuals on ignition interlock.
- Eliminate Special Registration Plates for Ignition Interlock Participants: Special registration plates embarrass offenders and do not carry a purpose since the Minnesota appellate courts have ruled that law enforcement cannot initiate a traffic stop solely because of the presence of special registration plates. Allowing ignition interlock participants to avoid special registration plates would provide an incentive to enroll in ignition interlock, which increases public safety on Minnesota’s roads.
In addition, the DWI Task Force supports S.F. 449 / H.F. 1149, which expands conservation officer authority to conduct DWI investigations and arrests.
Past Successful Legislative Initiatives:
**2018 -- HF 2766 and SF 2479, which responded to the Minnesota Supreme Court's decision in State v. Carson by changing Minnesota's DWI laws regarding OSHA's "hazardous substances" to "intoxicating substances" that focus on drugs and chemicals that cause impairment and render a person unsafe to operate a motor vehicle.
**2017 -- HF 2364 and SF 2375, which responded to the United States Supreme Court's decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota and achieved five things: (1) Amended Minnesota's implied consent laws, 169A.51-53, to only reference breath tests, which is consistent with the Birchfield decision; (2) Criminalized refusal to comply with the execution of a search warrant, which is consistent with the refusal laws for breath test cases but codified under proper constitutional authority; (3) Provides for the revocation of an offender's driver's license for a failed test or refusal to comply with a search warrant, which is consistent with the consequences in a breath test case; (4) Extended the amount of time an offender has to challenge a license revocation from 30 to 60 days; and (5) Allows for a prescription drug affirmative defense in license revocation hearings. Here is a link to a final engrossment of the bill.
**2015 -- HF 1255 and SF 1073, which lowered the enhancement level of gross misdemeanor DWIs from an alcohol concentration of .20 to .16.