Legislature Revisits DUI Law - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Legislature Revisits DUI Law

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Changes made to North Dakota's DUI Law back in April are already raising concerns among prosecutors, defense attorneys and police. The state legislature has formed an interim committee to review the law.

One of the changes to the law made refusing a chemical test a criminal offense, and attorneys throughout the state are questioning if this is a separate charge from a DUI.

"A law enforcement agency can take the position that we're only going to charge a DUI or refusal and I have seen examples of that, I have seen other examples of where people can be charged with both in a single case," says defense attorney Justin Vinge.
 
Vingey says this part of the law may be infringing on privacy rights.

"When it comes to the DUI law, if we say no, we choose not to give a breath test or a blood test or a urine test then we can be charged with a crime for exercising our rights under the fourth amendment," says Vinge.

Another problem the committee is addressing is a lack of uniformity among law enforcement agencies. The 24/7 sobriety law mandates offenders must wear an alcohol bracelet, and lawmakers did not make the rules clear for probation officers.

"The problem is we never really told the probation folks if someone is on the bracelet and has to go, did the legislature want them to decide whether  or not to take it off or does there need to be some guidance in the law," says Senator Ray Holmberg.

Senator Holmberg says although the committee will look to make some changes with the law, they are not looking to lessen the consequences.

"There's no interest in pulling back from what we did, which was ratchet up the punishment from driving drunk, it's just that some of the consequences may or may not have been intended so that's what the committee will be looking at over the next year."

Holmberg also says it is not uncommon for the legislature to look back and review a law it has created.

The committee will meet for the first time in January.

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