Banner-Evaluation of Minnesota's High-BAC Law

3. Evaluation of Minnesota's High-BAC Law

Profile and Disposition of DWI Cases 1997-2000

Case Dispositions

Case Dispositions of First-Time Offenders

Table 4 summarizes case dispositions for first-time offenders in 1997 and 1998. BAC results for persons who submitted to the alcohol test were not available for offenses committed in 1997. The implementation of the high-BAC statute resulted in more severe case dispositions for all first-time offenders in 1998, when compared to case dispositions for all first-time offenders in 1997. Among all first-time offenders in 1998, 15.2 percent received enhanced sanctions, including an enhanced administrative sanction only (1.4 percent), an enhanced administrative sanction and a standard DWI court conviction (1.7 percent), an enhanced DWI court conviction only (0.6 percent), an enhanced administrative and an enhanced DWI conviction (4.2 percent), or an enhanced “turnaround” disposition (7.3 percent).

In 1998, first-time offenders with BACs > .20 received more severe case dispositions overall than first-time offenders with BACs < .20 (Table 4). The majority of high-BAC offenders received enhanced administrative and/or court sanctions (85.6 percent) rather than standard DWI sanctions (14.4 percent). Furthermore, first-time high-BAC offenders were more likely than first-time offenders with BACs < .20 to receive a court conviction in addition to an administrative sanction. Of high-BAC first-time offenders, 8.4 percent received an implied consent administrative disposition (0.6 percent with test refusal or standard administrative sanction only and 7.8 percent with enhanced administrative sanctions) but not a DWI conviction in court. In contrast, of lower BAC first-time offenders, 20.3 percent received only an implied consent disposition.

Table 4

Case Dispositions for First-time DWI Offenders
Minnesota, 1997 and 1998

 

1997*

1998

 

Alcohol Test Refusal

Total

Alcohol Test Refusal

BAC <.20

BAC >.20

Total

Total Cases (N)

2,937

23,076

2,761

16,187

4,055

23,003

 

%

%

%

%

%

%

Refusal or Standard Administrative Only

16.3

18.5

18.7

20.3

  0.6

16.6

Enhanced Administrative Only

 ---

---

---

---

  7.8

  1.4

Standard DWI Conviction Only

---

  7.2

---

 2.4

  9.1

  3.3

Enhanced DWI Conviction Only

---

---

---

---

  3.3

  0.6

Refusal Conviction Only

 0.9

  0.1

  2.1

---

---

  0.2

Standard Turnaround (Admin & Convict)

33.9

40.2

29.3

42.6

  4.7

34.3

Enhanced Turnaround (Admin &Convict)

---

---

---

---

41.3

  7.3

Standard Administrative & Standard Conviction

28.4

31.4

27.4

34.7

---

27.7

Enhanced Administrative & Standard Conviction

---

---

---

---

  9.5

  1.7

Enhanced Administrative & Enhanced Conviction

---

---

---

---

23.7

  4.2

Refusal Administrative and DWI Conviction

20.5

  2.6

22.6

---

---

  2.7

Total Standard Sanctions

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

14.4

84.8

Total Enhanced Sanctions

---

---

---

---

85.6

15.2

*BAC results for offenders who submitted to the alcohol test were not available for 1997.

The percentage of high-BAC first-time offenders receiving enhanced administrative and/or court dispositions declined from 85.6 percent in 1998 to 77.6 percent in 1999 (Table 5). The percentage of high-BAC first-time offenders who received both enhanced administrative and enhanced court sanctions (including an enhanced turnaround) also declined, from 65.0 percent (23.7 percent with enhanced administrative sanctions and enhanced convictions plus 41.3 percent with enhanced turnaround) in 1998 to 53.0 percent (23.0 percent with enhanced administrative sanctions and enhanced convictions plus 30.0 percent with enhanced turnaround) in 1999. The pattern of dispositions in 2000 was similar to that in 1999. It should be noted that a small proportion of offenses occurring in 2000 might not have reached final disposition in court when the data were extracted from the driver license file.

Table 5

Case Dispositions for First-time DWI Offenders with BACs > .20
Minnesota, 1998, 1999, 2000

 

1998

1999

2000

Total Cases (N)

4,055

4,209

3,961

 

%

%

%

Refusal or Standard Administrative Only

0.6

0.5

0.4

Enhanced Administrative Only

7.8

8.9

13.6

Standard DWI Conviction Only

9.1

11.8

10.0

Enhanced DWI Conviction Only

3.3

3.1

2.2

Standard Turnaround (Administrative & Conviction)

4.7

9.9

11.0

Enhanced Turnaround (Administrative & Conviction)

41.3

30.0

31.0

Standard Administrative & Standard Conviction

---

0.2

0.3

Standard Administrative/Enhanced Conviction

---

0.3

0.1

Enhanced Administrative/Standard Conviction

9.5

12.4

9.8

Enhanced Administrative & Enhanced Conviction

23.7

23.0

21.6

Total Standard Sanctions

14.4

22.4

21.7

Total Enhanced Sanctions

85.6

77.6

78.3