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Morris Police Department to increase DWI patrols in December

STEVENS COUNTY -- You don't have to have yourself a merry little time in jail if you plan ahead for a sober ride. Morris Police Department will increase drunk driving enforcement during a statewide and nationwide Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over DWI enforcement effort in December. The campaign is coordinated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety (DPS) Office of Traffic Safety.

From 2009 to 2011 in Stevens County, drunk driving crashes accounted for one death and nine serious injuries. During this same period, 51 motorists were arrested for DWI. In Minnesota during this period, 344 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. Each year in the state, around 30,000 people are arrested for DWI. DPS officials say enhanced DWI campaigns have helped to reduce drunk driving crashes by 40 percent from a decade ago.

"The holiday celebration season can be a potentially deadly one due to drunk driving," said Officer Reggie Welle. "Make plans for a safe and sober ride, or face the consequences."

A DWI offense can result in loss of license for up to a year, thousands in costs and possible jail time.

Repeat DWI offenders, as well as first-time offenders arrested at 0.16 and above alcohol-concentration level, must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges, or face at least one year without a driver's license. Offenders with three or more offenses are required to use interlock for three to six years, or they will never regain driving privileges.