State DUI Laws - News Roundup
By: Mary Ann Pekara
New Wyoming Ignition Interlock Law
In Wyoming, the Senate Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee recently voted 5-0 in favor of Senate File 88. The bill requires people convicted of DUI to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles .
The Casper Star-Tribune reported Senate File 88 in Wyoming was modeled after the new ignition interlock law in New Mexico. After enacting the law in New Mexico, the state had a 35 percent decline in DUI arrests. The New Mexico law initially required ignition interlock devices beginning with the second DUI conviction, but was amended two years ago to include first-time DUI offenders.
Senate File 88 in Wyoming was co-sponsored by Sen. Drew Perkins and Rep. Debbie Hammons. Perkins and Hammons said that mandatory ignition interlock laws were proven effective in reducing drunk driving in as many as eight other states. Hammons said that states that require ignition interlock devices could expect a 50 to 80 percent decrease in DUI arrests.
The bill requires first-time Wyoming DUI offenders who register a blood alcohol content of .15 or higher to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles for one year. For a second DUI conviction, offenders must only drive vehicles equipped with an ignition interlock device for two years, and a third DUI conviction would require the device for three years. For the fourth and subsequent DUI convictions, offenders must have the device installed for life. These offenders may apply to the court for the removal of the devices every five years.
Proposed Oklahoma DUI Bill Could Mean Vehicle Forfeiture
Oklahoma Sen. Harry Coates has filed legislation to increase DUI penalties. Coates' bill, SB 1014, is also known as the Brandon Burgett Act, in memory of a loved-one who was killed by a drunk driver in 2008.
Under current Oklahoma law, DUI offenders can have their driver's licenses suspended for up to six months, face fines of up to $5,000, and be sentenced to up to a year in jail, community service or inpatient rehabilitation treatment.
The Insurance Journal reported SB 1014 would require that people convicted of felony DUI forfeit all vehicles in which they have an ownership interest and pay all fees associated with the forfeiture, including towing and storage. Funds from the sale of forfeited vehicles would be placed in the Drug Abuse Education and Treatment Revolving Funds and be used for the treatment and drug testing of indigent substance abuse offenders or for substance abuse prevention.
MADD and Victims of Drunken Drivers Push Ignition Interlock Law in Mississippi
On Jan. 21, about a dozen victims of drunken drivers gathered at the Mississippi State Capitol to ask lawmakers to pass a bill that they believe could prevent some people from driving while impaired.
The Associated Press reported that the victims and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are pushing a bill to expand the use of ignition interlock devices. Currently, state law allows judges to order people convicted of a second or subsequent DUI to have an ignition interlock device installed on their vehicles.
The proposed bill, House Bill 1352, would give judges the authority to order ignition interlock devices to be installed on the first DUI conviction. Rep. Philip Gunn filed the bill this year.