People arrested for DWI will now have their age and gender posted on Twitter by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. On May 10th the Minnesota Highway Patrol launched a crackdown on drunk driving that included posting the location of all drunk driving arrests along with the demographic information of the person arrested. It appears the original idea was to post the names of the people arrested for drunk driving as a way to publicly shame them. The crackdown included over 150 police cars focused solely on drunk driving enforcement. The date of the enforcement effort was not chosen at random, but rather it coincides with the beginning of the Minnesota fishing season that begins on May 11, 2013.
It will be interesting to see if other communities around the country pick up this idea of public shaming. With the emphasis on drunk driving enforcement in the St. Louis area, it would not be surprising to see municipalities like Town & Country or Maryland Heights experiment with similar tactics. There is also Jefferson County which has been already been pushing the envelope when it comes to drunk driving enforcement by implementing roaming DWI checkpoints in attempts to circumvent social media postings about checkpoint locations.
This is yet another example of law enforcement jumping to the conclusion of guilt and punishment before letting the legal process play out in court. With an experienced attorney, and many defenses available, it is possible to avoid a conviction even after an arrest for drunk driving.
Source: MyFoxTwinCities.com, “Minnesota State Patrol to Post DWI Arrests on Twitter,” May 9, 2013.