Minnesota is not the place you want to see those flashing lights in your rear-view mirror, especially if you have been drinking or if the officer only suspects you have been drinking.

The reason is that we have the toughest laws in the country for dealing with drivers under the influence of alcohol, according to a recent analysis by a Utah firm.

No single reason Minnesota is tough on DUIs

Compared with other states in America, no single measure makes ours a true standout.

For example, we have laws for putting breath tests on ignition switches to stop people from driving after drinking. We have laws for the number of DUIs it takes to make the next one a felony and laws for taking away people’s vehicles.

But those laws are about as tough in Delaware, Illinois and Mississippi.

Minnesota’s laws for suspending licenses for a first, second and third DUI are tough. But by those measures, we are far down in the middle of the pack.

The total weight of DUI laws is tough on Minnesotans

Where Minnesota stands far out ahead of everyone else is in the total effect of all our DUI laws.

The NBC affiliate in Rochester quoted a State Patrol Sergeant, who described this overall effect on the driving public, at least from his point of view. Maybe without meaning to, he also gave a good argument for legal help to reduce some of the burdens:

You’re gonna lose your driver’s license for up to a year, but you’re gonna have an instant 90-day revocation of your driver’s license and then you’ll have a seven-day permit on your first DWI offense and then after that you’re gonna have to go through getting an ignition interlock in your vehicle or you’re gonna have to establish a work permit to be able to drive during your work hours or business hours.

Other states are tougher here and easier there. Minnesota is tough here, there and everywhere, hitting those convicted of DUI hard in almost every way it can.