When does DUS become serious?
Relative to some states and also relative to the past, North Dakota takes drunk driving pretty seriously when an offender ends up in court.
However, driving under suspension, although a misdemeanor technically, sure doesn’t seem to be taken too seriously in the eyes of the law.
Rarely does a day go by in Minot courts during which defendants don’t appear with multiple DUS charges – sometimes to the point of evoking an absurdist comedy.
It is thoroughly understandable that an individual can have a hard time re-acquiring his license after suspension. It’s expensive and just part of the struggles one faces after penalties include suspension. Minot Daily News has previously cautioned that too often, money is an obstacle to people getting their lives back together; and too frequently our jails resemble debtors’ prisons.
That said, the general public suffers from a large volume of drivers operating vehicles without licenses. It is easy to feel sympathetic for the repeat DUS driver who simply can’t crawl out of a pit of fees and fines.
Still, it is even easier to feel sympathetic for legal drivers who get involved in accidents with DUS drivers, since the latter isn’t going to be insured. DUS “cases” also tend to occupy a great deal of municipal court time, adding to the overall cost to law-abiding taxpayers.
So when does DUS become serious?
The State is encouraged to seek better solutions to a problem that perhaps has not been given the attention it warrants on full examination.