Ed Gruchalla is a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives whose bipartisan suppport of a new bill to change the state’s drunk driving laws is said to be a game-changer. A member of the North Dakota Democratic-NPL Party, Gruchalla says that he has guidelines in place for the bill which would make substantial changes and tougher penalties for convicted drunk drivers.
The new bill would require first-time offenders to spend 30 days in jail, and require a $5,000 fine to be paid. For a third offense in ten years, the fine increases to $100,000 and five years in prison.
Gruchalla said the current laws are not working for North Dakota. He said, “I think if we’re going to make any progress, we’re going to have to focus on being tougher on offenders, and make them sit back and say, I’m not going to do that, because the penalties are just too severe.”
The bill would give offenders a chance to use an ignition interlock system on their vehicle in lieu of a full jail sentence. The bill has not been finalized as the lawmakers are still receiving input from other lawmakers about all the provisions they believe it should include.
There were 6,600 arrests last year for DUI in North Dakota, and an astounding 1,871 of those were repeat offenders.