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Published February 20, 2013, 05:41 PM

Stiffer DUI Penalties Could Mean Taxed Law Enforcement Resources

The DUI bill passed unanimously by the North Dakota Senate will crack down on drivers caught under the influence, including heftier fines and more jail time. But if the bill becomes law, it could cause some headaches for local law enforcement too.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

The DUI bill passed unanimously by the North Dakota Senate will crack down on drivers caught under the influence, including heftier fines and more jail time. But if the bill becomes law, it could cause some headaches for local law enforcement too.

Local authorities say increased DUI penalties should deter people from driving under the influence, but dealing with those who still drive drunk could become more of a chore.

Walter Hoyt, supporter of stronger DUI laws, "I think it's a problem, especially these interstates and these highways when they're killing people. I think they ought to have a tougher penalty."

DUI's are already expensive, with increased insurance rates and fines upwards of $10,000. The hope is that increased penalties will convince drivers to think twice before getting behind the wheel drunk. But increased fines could cause more people to fight DUI's and bring them to trial, where deputies need to testify. The bill also mandates jail time for elevated blood alcohol levels, which could strain busy local jails. Despite the effect on law enforcement, the proposal is enjoying strong support from the public.

The proposed changes would also force people convicted of a DUI to submit to multiple daily breathalyzer tests at the sheriff's department, which requires a deputy to be present.

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