In 2014, North Dakota Highway Patrol officials say that DUI related arrests fell 10%. This is in keeping with rest of the country where DUI arrests have fallen. A bill has been introduced in ND that will end mandatory sobriety checkpoints.
DUI Arrests down to 10% in ND
As per Highway Patrol Sergeant, Tom Iversion the number of DUI incidents were as high as 1,700 statewide last year, 200 less than the previous year. The reasons for the drop could be due to a number of initiatives taken by the state government to reduce incidents of DUI arrests. Iversion says the number of highway troopers in North Dakota has almost doubled over a period of five years. Their vigilance may have prevented a lot of driving arrests because drunks remain at home, at their friends, or sleep it off in their car.
According to Grand Forks ND attorneys, penalties for DUI arrests have been made more stringent via legislation in its last session. A motorist with 0.16 or higher blood alcohol content would have to face a mandatory two days in a county jail. There are others who are required to participate in a program called 24/7 where breathalyzer tests are mandatory twice a day for a whole year.
House Bill 1084 will eliminate sobriety checkpoints
As per Senator Tom Campbell, R-Grafton, the House Bill 1084 is meant to eliminate sobriety checkpoints statewide in ND. The bill states that law enforcement may not make traffic stops unless they have reasonable suspicion to believe that the person is driving under the influence.
Sen. Campbell states that the Republicans are for the bill because their constituents are frustrated by these checks especially during busy times at a festival or a concert. As per Campbell these checkpoints do not lessen DUI arrests but only send a negative message. There are better ways to educate people about DUI he says.
West Fargo Police Chief, Mike Reitan thinks that the bill would help keep intersections clear of these stops in the event they are on the lookout for fugitives and criminals suspected of kidnapping. He says that these mandatory sobriety checks get in the way when they are looking for fugitives hindering their ability to perform their traffic and public duties safely.
Bill may have negative impact on DUI
Even though Reitan’s department is unable to conduct sobriety checks due to staff shortage he thinks removing these checkpoints may not be a marvelous idea since they believe that checkpoints deter DUI drivers. A DUI law firm such as Stringini & Garvey, P.C. can help anyone who is in trouble with a DUI ticket and certainly with their second or third DUI charge.
Fargo Sgt. Jim Kringle thinks that checkpoints send a message to drivers to not drink and drive. In any case police put up signs at checkpoints to warn motorists and the drivers that they have the freedom to avoid the checkpoint and take another route and not participate in sobriety testing. This could be the route everyone takes though.
Tim Nelson of the Highway Patrol who is concerned about the Bill’s language says that the Judiciary Committee may modify the bill in the process of passing it.