The State Patrol and the Department of Public Safety has made it widely known that officers will be on the lookout for inebriated drivers on St. Patrick's Day Tuesday, and getting caught can have long-reaching effects.
A DUI (driving under the influence) offense can lead to a loss of a drivers license for up to a year and possible jail time, the DPS warns. And that is just the start.
St. Patrick's Day is one of the biggest drinking days of the year and study by the personal finance website Nerdwallet.com found that drivers tagged for drunken driving in St. Paul, and presumably Minneapolis, too, can expect their car insurance premiums rise by $433.95 a year.
"You might think the ticket for DWI might be the expensive part, but the increase in insurance rates is a huge financial burden," said John Kou, a transportation analysis for Nerdwallet.com. "Insurance plans can drop you, and [higher] rates can last for years."
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, a ticket alone can cost thousands of dollars, lead to loss of a license for up to a year and possible jail time. There are also court costs and possible alcohol-awareness courses and a potential loss of income.
Last year 106 motorists in Minnesota were stopped for driving drunk, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said. That was down from 226 in 2013 and 346 in 2012.
The steep increase in insurance premiums is just another cost. Nerdwallet looked at insurance rates in 20 cities with big St. Patrick's Day celebrations and compared rates before drivers got a DWI and after. St. Paul's annual car insurance premium was $1,427,93. After a driver got a DWI, the rate rose to $1,861.88, an increase of 30 percent.
St. Paulites can take some solace in that the city came in 18th on the list of 20 cities reviewed by the website, which ranked cities based on annual premium increase after a DUI. If you are unfortunate enough to get nabbed, thank your lucky clover leaf that you are not in New York City where the annual increase comes to a hefty $1,837.42 a year.