Last night, Attorney Joe Tamburino spoke to reporters from Fox 9 news, weighing in on the effects from the DWI changes that will take place this August. There is a thought that this new law will increase the number of arrests, especially on first-time offenders and others with no prior criminal history. In turn, this can also raise the costs for taxpayers to fund this new law.
Understanding the DWI Law Change
DWI laws measure a driver’s level of intoxication by measuring the blood-alcohol concentration (BAC). Under current law, an individual can be charged with a misdemeanor if their BAC measures at least .08, and a gross misdemeanor is charged at .20 or above.
These are the penalties under the current law:
However, on August 1, 2015, the law will lower the legal limit for a gross misdemeanor to .16. This could possibly be disastrous for the entire criminal justice system throughout Minnesota, necessitating the need for additional resources, such as additional law enforcement officials, more rooms for jailed citizens, as well as legal support.
Attorney Tamburino provided the following comments:
“You're going to have an additional 3,000 people a year who are going to have to be processed through our jails, there's 87 counties in Minnesota. Who knows how many beds they're going to need over the weekend or overnight to accommodate all these people?”
New Law Places Strain on Average Citizen
While it is obvious that the new law is meant to deter drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. More than 40% of those caught for driving while intoxicated are repeat offenders. First and foremost, though, the aim is to reduce the amount of car accidents that come from drivers with high BAC levels.
At the same time, who is left to foot the bill that these reforms may bring? Attorney Tamburino points out that because gross demeanors require higher bail amounts, the expense of this offense will be much heftier. Housing prisoners will also become costly—at the expense of the taxpaying citizen’s.
Want to know more about DWI laws? Looking for protection if you were accused? Speak with our Minneapolis DWI attorneys at Caplan & Tamburino Law Firm, P.A.