Minnesota Ignition Interlock and Out-of-State DWI?

Posted On December 16, 2021 Charles Ramsay

In a blog post earlier this month we discussed the effects of a Wisconsin DWI on one’s Minnesota license to drive, and how we may be able to help in cases where a driver submits to a blood or urine test. In other situations, however, where we cannot save the Minnesota driver’s license arising out of a Wisconsin DWI (for a breath test, for example), the Minnesota driver should be able to drive in Minnesota provided they enroll in Minnesota’s ignition interlock program. But the Minnesota Department of Public safety frequently refuses to permit enrollment in the interlock program in such cases – with seemingly no valid basis!

We discussed this scenario with Ed Cohen of Smart Start, a Minnesota ignition interlock company. (Ed and his partner, Mike Friedberg, are an invaluable resource for drivers, attorneys, and others with interlock questions. Their company also provides excellent customer service, and, in my opinion, we see fewer problems with their interlock devices than from other Minnesota interlock companies.) Cohen agrees he frequently encounters this in situations where the Minnesota Department of Public Safety revokes or suspends a driver’s license for an out-of-state driving incident. Cohen doesn’t understand the legislative framework that would permit such a denial.  

Neither do we.

From a public policy standpoint, we want Minnesotans to be licensed to drive. It allows them to continue to work, provide for their families, and be productive citizens. Ignition interlock permits them to drive safely, without putting society in jeopardy of an impaired driver. Why would we want to deny this to Minnesotans?

Furthermore, it may be a constitutional issue. The equal protection clause of the constitution guarantees equal treatment of our citizens.  Why would it matter where the DWI occurred?

In any event, we’ll keep fighting these, but this is definitely something the legislature should correct.

Charles Ramsay