The days surrounding the July 4th holiday are usually a time for increased DWI enforcement on the roadways in most states. In Wisconsin in particular, police caught a Minnesota man suspected of driving drunk, yet the arrest was quite extraordinary: It represented the tenth time 57-year old Lawrence LaPole had been arrested for the suspected offense.
LaPole, originally from Rosemount, Minnesota, is hardly alone in terms of being a repeat offender. Bill Lemmons of Minnesota’s DWI Task Force remarked in a report from Fox 9, “Of first time offenders, about 40 percent will be arrested for a second DWI.”
Aside from being charged with driving drunk, LaPole faces additional charges for failing to install an ignition interlock device, following too closely, and using an invalid driver’s license.
In January, Wisconsin put into effect tougher DWI restrictions, increasing jail time penalties. Although from outside the state, LaPole will be subject to Wisconsin law and will likely serve jail time within the state.
The arrest has also drawn scrutiny from Minnesotans for Safe Driving, a group that continues to argue that Minnesota’s DWI laws are too lenient and need need to be made stricter.
In other DWI-related news, Minnesota began requiring authorities to receive search warrants before conducting blood and urine tests. The move follows a Supreme Court decision that weakened the state’s implied consent rules.