DUI Branded Driver’s Licenses


After posting a few blogs on the unusual ways some states have taken to branding their DUI offenders with so called “DUI scarlet letters,” I wondered what else was out there. If this is the first blog you’re reading, I’m referring to Minnesota’s use of the “whiskey plates” and the judge who ordered a DUI offender to wear a sign that said he killed someone while driving drunk while standing at the location of the collision. After doing some research, it seems North Dakota is considering its own DUI scarlet letter.

In response to a rash of recent DUI related fatalities, Wayne Stautz, who has no affiliation with government, has gotten the attention of lawmakers for an idea he came up with to making the roads safer. At least, that’s the intention.

His idea is to brand driver’s licenses with an emblem indicating that the holder of the license is a DUI offender, even if they’re a first time offender. So what’s the point of the emblem if your license stays in your wallet or purse? Well, to prevent you from buying alcohol. The other part of Stautz’s idea is that people should not be allowed to buy alcohol at a bar, restaurant, or liquor store if they’ve been convicted of a DUI. If you thought the days of being carded when ordering a drink were over, think again.

That’s right. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 18, 21, or 70 years old. You will be carded, not because you’re not old enough to legally be drinking, but because alcohol-serving establishments need to determine whether you’re a DUI offender before they serve you. If your license bears North Dakota’s new scarlet letter, you will not be served alcohol.

In true scarlet letter form, the emblem will likely stigmatize and embarrass those whose driver’s licenses are branded with it. Remember, buying alcohol isn’t the only thing we use our licenses for.

The proposed law will be voted on in North Dakota’s next legislative session.

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One Response to DUI Branded Driver’s Licenses

  1. Tara says:

    This is an interesting development in ND…but I don’t think it’s fair for people to be branded for their past crimes. This isn’t the middle ages and we shouldn’t allow our legal system to act like a vengeful god.

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