After a steady decline during the first part of the decade, Minnesota saw its DUI numbers climb back up as the calendar turned to 2020.
According to data released by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, 27,975 motorists were arrested for driving under the influence in 2019. The vast majority of them had too much alcohol in their system at the time of their arrest, but the Minnesota DPS noted that there was also a growing number of individuals who were arrested for driving while intoxicated by a substance other than alcohol. The most common substances other than alcohol were cannabis, opioids and meth, and statistics show those arrests helped fuel a 5 percent increase in DWI arrests compared to 2018.
“The fact that we see those numbers going up does cause us some concern,” said Mike Hanson, director of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Office of Traffic Safety. “There is no reason for us to arrest nearly 28,000 Minnesotans for DWI.”
Ups and Downs
Compared to where we were about 15 years ago, we’ve actually made some progress in terms of getting people to stop driving while intoxicated. Back in 2006, roughly 42,000 people were arrested for driving under the influence. That number steadily dropped for eight years to a low of 25,392 in 2014, but that number has been on the rise ever since. 2019 continued the trend, as there were 1,150 more DWI arrests in Minnesota this year.
Drug-impaired drivers also helped to fuel this increase, as the number of DWI arrests from drug-impaired drivers was 78 percent higher from 2013 to 2017 than it was from 2008 to 2012.
The DPS also has a hand in the increased numbers. Beginning in 2015, they launched a program that paid 18 full-time officers whose sole job is to target and arrest impaired drivers. The officers were deployed on nights and weekends in the 10 counties with the highest number of drunken or impaired drivers, including Anoka, Hennepin and Ramsey County.
2019 went out with a bang and 2020 started with a slew of DWI arrests as officers made 187 DWI arrests between 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and 6 p.m. on New Year’s Day. That’s up from 111 during the same time period last year.
Needless to say, if 2020 is anything like recent years, we expect to be busy again. But we’re busy because we’re good at what we do. If you of someone you know ends up with a DWI this year or needs help with any criminal matter, look no further than the experienced legal team at Appelman Law Firm. Contact our office at (952) 224-2277 for more information.