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Proposed New Penalties for DUI

Posted by Troy Slaten | Dec 05, 2013 | 0 Comments

Lawmakers and anti-DUI advocacy groups are constantly working on new plans to discourage repeat DUI offenses and stop people from drinking and driving. After a recent high-profile DUI related tragedy in Washington State, several groups have made proposals on new ways to stop DUI. A recent article in The Seattle Times explains some of these new proposed laws. The original law idea was to ban the purchase of alcohol to all repeat DUI offenders. This idea was quickly shut down.

An anti-DUI advocacy group called the Washington Impaired Driving Work Group also submitted a 152 page report listing their 11 new ideas that could help lower DUI. Of those, some of the most popular ideas included increasing the penalties for drivers who refuse to take a chemical sobriety test and increasing the minimum prison sentence and fine for repeat offenders.

In California many OUI offenders do not have to serve jail time. In 2010 only 74.1% of all the DUI sanctions included jail time. The group feels that knowing drivers will be forced to serve a certain time in jail is a big deterrent against drinking and driving. Another popular idea was to decrease the amount of prior DUI convictions a person can have before the DUI is considered a felony. Right now in California a driver who has 3 or more prior convictions will face felony DUI charges. Advocates of the change believe that a person with 1 or 2 prior DUI convictions should also be concerned about felony charges.

While some of these ideas may seem like good deterrents, more research should be done into why people choose to drive under the influence. No one wants to get a DUI and drivers do not plan on getting stopped when they choose to drive drunk. Someone who makes a mistake and drives under the influence will not benefit from more jail time. In fact, serving jail time could cause them to lose their job or fall behind in their school work.

One of the most viable options may be increasing the use of an ignition interlock devices (IID). These devices require a driver to test the BAC of their breath before starting their vehicle. Several counties in California are currently testing the use of these devices for all DUI offenders. Based on the results of this pilot program, IIDs may become more common in the state.

About the Author

Troy Slaten

Troy Slaten is the managing attorney for Floyd, Skeren & Kelly's Criminal Defense practice. He graduated with honors from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He then went on to earn his law degree from Pepperdine University School of Law.

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