Ask a Trooper: ‘Whiskey plate’ designation not recorded on driver’s licenseE-mail email@example.com or mail your question to Duluth News Tribune, Attn: Ask the State Trooper, 424 W. First St., Duluth, MN 55802. You may remain anonymous if you choose. Read past columns at duluthnews tribune.com.
Q: I’ve been hearing about the plain white Minnesota license plates with a “W” followed by a series of numbers, aka whiskey plates. My understanding is that if a person has a certain number of driving while intoxicated citations, their vehicle must display this type of license plate. I’ve also heard this information is noted on the individual’s driver’s license, and that some businesses serving alcohol check driver’s licenses for this information before serving them. This seems like a good idea, but I’ve observed it isn’t a routinely followed practice. Could you elaborate?
A: People become “eligible” for whiskey plates a number of ways, but the plates are required only if the person or person’s family needs or wants to drive the car during that year of registration revocation. They can choose to let their vehicles sit for that whole year if they want to, without purchasing the plates, as far as I know.
As for the other information, that is false. There is no indication on a driver’s license about the license plate status. The establishment is probably just checking the birth date. However, some places won’t serve someone with a total abstinence restriction. It’s a private business and they can do whatever they want, but it is not required.
Sgt. Curt S. Mowers is a regional public information officer for the Minnesota State Patrol.