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Extra DWI patrols out on Halloween

BEMIDJI — The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office and Bemidji Police Department are increasing DWI enforcement patrols over the Halloween weekend as part of an effort coordinated by the Department of Public Safety.

Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp and Bemidji Police Chief Mike Mastin are cautioning people planning to party to arrange for a sober ride home to keep the roads safe.

Law enforcement offer the following tips to arrive alive: designate a driver, call a cab, use public transportation, offer to be a designated driver or a sober ride available whenever a friend is ready to be picked up, always buckle up and report suspected drunk driving.

If you witness impaired driving behavior call 911 and provide the location, license plate number and description of behavior.

In the past five years, seven people were killed in drinking and driving accidents during Halloween weekend. There were 27 serious, life-altering injuries in that time and 2,484 people were arrested for driving while under the influence.

In 2012, 104 people were killed in drunk driving crashes; 2,644 people suffered injuries in alcohol-related crashes and 28,418 people were arrested for DWI with an average alcohol-concentration of 0.154.

A DWI offense can result in loss of driver’s license for up to a year, thousands of dollars in fines and court costs and possible jail time.

Repeat offenders and first-time offenders with an alcohol-concentration of 0.16 or more must use ignition interlock in order to regain legal driving privileges or face at least one year without a driver’s license. Three or more offenses results in interlock use for three to six years.