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Minnesota DUI and Whiskey License Plates

Will I have to install Whiskey License Plates on my car after a DUI?

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Minnesota Snownami 2010 (Photo credit: DavidErickson)"]Minnesota Snownami 2010[/caption] “Whiskey license plates” as they are commonly called are also required if a driver takes a blood alcohol content test and tests higher than 0.20%, if they refuse to take a blood alcohol content test or if they are arrested for drunk driving while a child is in their car. These specialty plates were implemented by the Minnesota state legislation under Minnesota Statute §168.041, subd. 6, These plates a long with other more aggressive DUI penalties are among a variety of penalties that state legislatures have implemented to curb drunk driving. If you are forced to purchase these plates you will have to register all of your vehicles, not just the one you were driving when you were arrested for drunk driving. Additionally, you may not drive any other car which does not have these plates.

Controversy surrounds Minnesota Whiskey Plates

  There has been controversy surrounding the implementation of these specialty plates since their inception. Up until 2003, law enforcement officers in the state of Minnesota were allowed to stop a driver just because they had the whiskey plates. Eventually, a case was brought before the Minnesota Supreme Court to challenge an earlier court case and eventually ruled that stopping a car for no reason (similar to what is done for a sobriety check point) is not constitutional according to Minnesota State Constitution, Article I, Section 10, which determines that to make a stop a police officer must have objective evidence or suspicion that the driver has engaged in criminal wrong doing.

How long will I have to have the plates on my car?

  Minnesota whiskey plates must be used for at least one year from the date of the DUI offense or until the driver's license has been fully reinstated (or the longer of the two). If your Minnesota driver’s license has been suspended for more than one year the plates will remain on your car until your suspension is completed and you have your Minnesota driver’s license reinstated. They are never a permanent requirement for operating a motorized vehicle in Minnesota.

What are the benefits for the state of Minnesota of the Whiskey Plates?

  Like many other DUI penalties such as probation, jail time, high fines, mandatory alcohol education classes or mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, whiskey license plates are used by the state of Minnesota as a deterrent to drunk driving. Whiskey license plates may be highly effective for many drivers who wish to avoid the embarrassment of having their drunk driving charges broadcast to the public, especially friends and family members. Drivers who have whiskey license plates installed on their car should be extra careful to avoid all types of driving infractions. Although police officers must have cause to stop your car it won’t take much to make you a target of law enforcement. Any illegal driving action could lead to a stop. Contact a DUI lawyer if you have been arrested for drunk driving in the state of Minnesota.
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