2018 MN Legislative Session to Examine DWI? Man’s 28th Charge Has Lawmakers Talking

A Minnesota man’s 28th DWI arrest is sparking a conversation surrounding state DWI law among state legislators, according to a recent report from KARE11.

64-year-old Danny Bettcher was taken into custody on September 28th after leaving a VFW in New York Mills, Minnesota. A concerned off-duty cop familiar with Bettcher’s history had alerted local authorities before Bettcher left the location, fearing he’d attempt to drive. The Minnesota man was then caught running a stop sign, admitting to authorities, “I am way over, take me to jail.”

Can You Lose Your License Permanently for DWI?

What’s most interesting about the incident is that Bettcher was in fact using a valid driver’s license, despite having received 27 prior DWI convictions. Representative Dario Anselmo of Edina called the incident a “shock on some many levels.” Currently under state law, Minnesota does not permanently ban serial DWI offenders like Bettcher.

“I’m looking to introduce a bill next session and looking to get a hearing on it and have some discussion about trying to see if we can add a higher consequence so that after 5 DWIs, you would actually lose your license and have it be revoked forever,” Anselmo remarked, via KARE11. According to the state’s department of Corrections, Bettcher has in the past spent over 11 total years in jail on DWI-related charges.

Despite the case for making a ban, others aren’t so sure it’d be the right way to go. Allowing those convicted of DWIs to keep driver’s licenses may  help authorities more closely track such serial offenders, whereas not allowing them to receive licenses at all could lead them to drive anyways. Representative Anselmo admits that’s a valid concern. State Rep. Nick Zerwas of Elk River has also mentioned he’d like the legislature to address DWI.

The 2018 legislative session kicks off in St. Paul on February 20th of next year. At the blog, we’ll closely track and report on any DWI legislation that is introduced. For more on the incident involving Bettcher, you can read KARE11’s report here (kare11.com).