In the news recently was a North Mankato man who was charged with DWI and Driving After Cancellation — Inimical to Public Safety.  Read the St. Peter Herald Story, here. Any criminal practitioner who does not know the term “DAC-IPS” (pronounced “dack-ipps”) is unhireable for that offense — the term has standard meaning and portent for the driver-defendant and their attorney.  It is a Gross Misdemeanor offense.  See Minnesota Statute 171.24.

In Minnesota, a driver is declared inimical to public safety often after their third DWI offense.  Inimical to public safety essentially means “completely unable to control a vehicle without endangering others.”  Drivers must go through a difficult and prolonged chemical dependency treatment in order to have their driving privileges reinstated.  In addition, that renewed license will be subject to a B-Card restriction — meaning any use of alcohol by the driver will invalidate his or her license, even if they aren’t driving when discovered to be drinking.  If there is a violation, there are subsequent rehabilitation periods that can last several years depending upon the number of DWI’s the driver has.  Rehabilitation will require complete abstinence, affidavits from people who can attest to the same, and a lot of time devoted to dependency groups.

Why is the State doing this?  The State has recognized that it is impossible to get people to stop drinking, even if they know they have a problem and want to stop it.  So the State simply assumes that people with alcohol addiction are always driving intoxicated.  The remaining option is to take away the driver’s license, or at least make it very difficult to keep while still suffering from the effects of alcohol.  1 in 7 Minnesotans has a DWI.  Of the people who get a first, only 10% get a second.  But of the people who get a second, 60% get a third.  The State has thrown the repeat offenders into very specific grouping as a way to identify and keep track of this specific population.

Nearly every client says the same thing — they can handle the criminal consequences of DWI, but it’s the license sanctions that are the real punishment.  Try not driving for six years and see how easy it isn’t.  If you have been charged with a DAC-IPS offense, there are ways to reduce the impact and potentially maintain your license — but you must talk with an attorney in order to find out if these options are available to you.