Tougher DUI Laws Take Effect - KMOT.COM - Minot, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Tougher DUI Laws Take Effect

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New, tougher DUI laws are taking effect just days before the 4th of July holiday weekend.

From now on, anyone who is caught drinking and driving will face tougher penalties. And those penalties are going into place a month before even lawmakers first thought they would.

"In the course of the session about $350,000 was added for alcohol education programs and also $1.2 million for purchases of about 1000 more of these ankle bracelets. When that happened it became an appropriations measure," says North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

By law, appropriations bills take effect July 1st, a month before all other types of bills passed during the session.

This one is just in time for the holiday.

"July 4th weekend is always a very busy weekend with many celebrations going on," says Sgt. Tom Iverson.

Those who are caught drinking and driving will face double the fines and more time behind bars than they would have previously. And refusing to take a breathalyzer test will mean stiffer penalties than before.

"Some of the challenges before, some of your repeat offenders who maybe knew some loopholes in the system, some tricks of the trade, they would refuse some of the testing knowing that it would be somewhat difficult for a law enforcement officer to prove in the court of law that they were actually impaired," says Sgt. Iverson.

Now those who refuse the breathalyzer test will be charged the same as if they were driving drunk. Repeat DUI offenders will also have to spend at least a year sober.

"And in order to assure compliance of the provisions of that requirement you have to go in to the sheriff's office twice a day. In the morning and again in the evening to blow into this device. To make sure that you're not in violation of the terms of the probation," says Stenehjem.

There are also ankle bracelets available for those who are unable to make it to be tested in person.

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