Minnesota DWI Roundup: New Year’s Crackdown & a District Court Judge Arrested

The state of Minnesota’s holiday crackdown on suspected DWI offenders continued into the New Year, as law enforcement officials arrested 117 motorists between 6PM Sunday on New Year’s Eve and 8AM Monday on New Year’s Day. The Minnesota DPS through their Twitter account disclosed the news.

The 117 motorists taken into custody represent just a portion of the overall 353 people suspected of driving drunk during the extended weekend. A total of 353 drivers were arrested between Friday, Dec 29th and Tuesday, Jan 2nd.

Ahead of the new year, the department had been urging people find alternative rides to get home, rather than driving themselves. “Line up a sober ride now if your New Year’s Eve plans include alcohol,” the MN Traffic Safety Twitter account tweeted.

Although the 353 arrested is a slight increase compared to the same time last year (344), it’s down significantly compared to 2014-2015 when a total of 431 motorists were arrested.

The holidays represent one of the biggest times of year for drunk driving. In November, state authorities arrested 490 people during Thanksgiving time.

In other DWI-related news, a Ramsey County district court judge was charged on suspicion of drinking and driving in St. Paul on New Year’s Day morning. Judge Gurdip Singh Atwal has since apologized, saying he was “humbled and shamed by what happened,” according to a report from the Duluth News Tribune.

The number of DWI-related deaths in Minnesota has decreased overall in recent years. In 2006, 134 DWI-related deaths were reported. In 2015, that number fell to 95.