Minnesota drivers may be aware of one embarrassing consequence of a DWI conviction. A court may order a driver to register all of his or her vehicles with special plates after a DWI conviction with certain aggravating factors. Many feel the special plates, called “whiskey” plates because they begin with the letter “W,” serve no purpose other than to make the drivers targets for police. However, new legislation is under consideration that may offer a different option for those convicted of DWI.

Although police may not pull over a driver simply because of the whiskey plates on the vehicle, the special plates do draw the attention of law enforcement and may place the driver under undeserved scrutiny. Safety advocates, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving, seem to agree that the whiskey plates do nothing to make the roads safer. They do not prevent someone from getting behind the wheel after drinking. However, a bill currently before the state senate may change that.

One lawmaker wants DWI offenders to have the choice to install an ignition interlock on their vehicles instead of registering for whiskey plates. Ignition interlock devices prevent a driver from starting the vehicle if it detects alcohol on the driver’s breath. This consequence of a DWI conviction may do more to keep the roads safe while eliminating the whiskey plates, which many believe are ineffective and serve no purpose.

Those who are facing DWI charges, especially those with aggravating factors, know they have much at stake. The penalties for a DWI conviction can result in long-lasting professional complications, financial struggles and personal embarrassment. It is wise to seek the counsel of an attorney for the best chances of minimizing these negative consequences.