State DUI Laws: Updates on Proposed DUI Legislation and New DUI Laws in Your State
By: Mary Ann Pekara
Fighting DUI crime is typically a shared vision of legislators throughout the United States. It is quite common to see a wide range of DUI legislation be proposed during state legislative sessions. Typically, a new state DUI law will take effect on either January 1st or July 1st of the specific year.
Even after the New Year has come and gone, the effect of new laws will be felt for years in relation to the increased efforts to penalize and curb DUI.
Below is a roundup of some of the newest updates to state DUI laws and also a preview of some DUI laws that will soon be on the books in respective states. For more information on the DUI laws in your state, get in touch with a local DUI attorney as soon as possible.
One of our sponsoring DUI lawyers in your area can help you learn about the latest changes to the DUI laws in your state and then evaluate how such new statutes may affect you. Sponsoring DUI attorneys can then help you calmly assess your situation and move forward with confidence rather than trepidation. Call 877-349-1311, and we'll help you get in touch with a DUI lawyer near you.
DUI Law Updates
Early Releases for Felony DWI Offenders will be denied
Representative Dan Greenberg, R-Little Rock, plans to introduce a new bill in 2009 that will reject early release for DWI offenders because of jail overcrowding. Greenberg felt the new bill was much needed after hearing about a Saline County woman - with 10 Arkansas DWI convictions - being released early in mid-October. According to court records, Sheila Blair was sentenced to 10 years in prison but only served less than a year.
Greenberg told the press that he felt Arkansas' state laws were pathetic because people with multiple DWIs should be serving "serious time." Under Arkansas law, DWI is considered a felony after a fourth conviction and each one following. Because it is considered a nonviolent offense under the Department of Correction regulations, offenders are up for early parole under the state Emergency Powers Act. But Greenberg feels that granting DWI offenders early release will not help alleviate the overcrowding in jail and only continue to endanger other drivers.
Illinois Requires DUI Offenders to have Breathalyzers Installed in their Vehicles
As of January 1, 2009, a new law will go into effect that will require Illinois DUI offenders to have breathalyzers installed in their vehicles. If motorists want special driving privileges while their license is suspended, they must install an ignition interlock system in their cars. The state hopes that with this new legislation more DUI offenders can be prevented from repeating the offense.
Other states are following the trend of passing new preventative legislation similar to Illinois, including Arizona, Louisiana, Washington, Nebraska, Colorado and Alaska. Illinois has certified the BAIIDs ignition interlock device, which is already used in about 3,000 cars in the state. Other changes in the DUI conviction process have come with the BAIID program, including drivers who fail their original BAC tests receiving a six-month suspension of their license instead of three. Also, DUI offenders who originally refuse to submit to a blood test but were later found guilty, will have their license suspended for 12 months instead of six.
Increased DUI Checkpoints for One California City
Recently, Escondido, CA police announced that the number of DUI checkpoints in the city will increase in 2009. Over the next 12 months, Escondido will have 12 DUI checkpoints, which is increased from the nine that were held in past years.
According to past reports, 47,699 cars passed though DUI checkpoints in the past two years. Due to constitutional restrictions, police were only able to stop 20,284 cars. During the checkpoint stops, the police gave 216 field sobriety tests and made 69 DUI arrests.
The Escondido police will also have 10 DUI patrols, which have made 37 DUI arrests in the past two years.
DUI Law Updates for September 23, 2008
Alabama DUI Bill Luckier in 2009
A proposed DUI bill that will toughen Alabama DUI penalties stalled during the 2008 session in the Senate Judiciary Committee but might be passed in 2009. The bill's sponsor, Republican Senator Rusty Glover, believed that the bill will be passed next year because the committee's Chairman, Democrat Senator Rodger Smitherman, will be leaving his post to accept a new position.
The Alabama DUI bill would establish aggravated DUI, a second level offense that would double the minimum DUI penalties if the driver has a blood alcohol content level of .15 percent. Offenders would also be required to participate in programs with victims of drunk driving and have ignition interlock devices in their cars. For repeat offenders, the Alabama DUI bill would eliminate the five-year cutoff when looking at a person's DUI history and make the punishment for a fourth DUI greater than the penalties for a third offense. The opposition believes that Alabama DUI penalties are already harsh enough.
Governor Palin Signs Alaska DUI Bill
Alaska passed a bill that will require every convicted drunk driver to install ignition interlock devices in their cars. House Bill 19, which will go into effect on January 1, 2009, was passed by both the Senate and House unanimously and signed by Governor Sarah Palin. It will go into effect on January 1, 2009.
The bill will help further the Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, supported by MADD. Seven other states have joined the campaign, including Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Mexico and Washington.
Arizona Passes Tougher State DUI Laws
As of September 26, anyone convicted of a DUI in Arizona will face stricter mandatory minimum sentences. The tougher Arizona DUI penalties include serving up to 45 days in jail, a minimum of $2,800 in fines, a driver's license suspension for 90 days, installation of an ignition interlock device, mandatory attendance of alcohol awareness and driving school classes, and breathalyzer tests randomly throughout the day.
For drivers who are convicted of an Arizona DUI with a blood alcohol level of .08 percent to .14 percent, they will face 30 days in jail, $1,500 in fines and installation of an ignition interlock device. Those with a DUI conviction that have a BAC of .15 to .2 percent will face additional fines around $2,800, have their driver's license suspended for 90 days, and attend mandatory classes as well as face the penalties for a DUI with a lower BAC. Extreme DUIs, which are those people with a BAC of more than .2 percent, will face even stricter Arizona DUI penalties.
Lawmakers Reconsidering Pennsylvania DUI Legislation
Currently, Pennsylvania DUI law has a loophole regarding fatal hit and run accidents where alcohol is involved. Representative David Reed is proposing a bill that will help close that loophole.
The penalty for a fatal hit and run is a year in prison, so if an intoxicated driver flees the scene and is later apprehended, he or she faces a year sentence. However, if the driver stops and offers assistance and is found to be intoxicated, he or she could face a mandatory three-year sentence. The Pennsylvania DUI bill Reed has proposed will raise the minimum sentence for fleeing the scene of a fatal accident to five years.
DUI Law Updates for September 4, 2008
Vermont: Third DUI Could Land Driver Behind Bars For Life
A 36-year-old man is facing the possibility of life imprisonment if convicted of his third Vermont DUI.
The Vermont man was pulled over after his dump truck was spotted driving on sidewalks. He was taken into custody after refusing to perform sobriety tests but later submitted evidentiary breath tests at the station that registered his BAC at 0.176 and 0.183, both more than twice the legal limit. He pleaded innocent to the felony charge earlier this week and was released on the conditions that he would not drink alcohol and that he would submit to BAC tests at the request of any officer.
Vermont DUI law typically calls for a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $2,500 fine, but the state's attorney is seeking life imprisonment because of the driver's criminal record. The man has three prior felony convictions for grand larceny, aggravated domestic assault and aggravated assault. He also has received nine misdemeanor convictions for, among other charges, hunting deer out of season, simple assault on law enforcement, domestic assault, driving with a suspended license and two previous drunk driving convictions.
New Felony Georgia DUI Law
Under a new Georgia DUI law, if arrested for a fourth DUI within 10 years, you will now face a felony conviction. If found guilty of the charge, you may be sentenced to one to five years in prison.
First time DUI offenders will also be affected by the new law, which was enacted July 1. They will not only have to enroll in a driving program, pay fines and complete community service, but also undergo an evaluation for alcohol abuse and attend a treatment program.
California Senate OK's Ignition Interlock Device Increase & Lower BAC Level for "Extreme" DUI
The California Senate gave its stamp of approval on a new law that would reduce the blood alcohol content (BAC) level for classifying "extreme" DUI from 0.20 to 0.15 BAC. This would result in more extreme DUI convictions in the state and therefore require more people to install ignition interlock devices in their cars.
Earlier this summer, the bill flew through the Assembly and it's now heading to the governor's desk to potentially become the latest California law for drunk driving. The governor can sign or veto it, or leave it unsigned.
DUI Law Updates for August 28, 2008
Civil Lawsuit: Widow Says State Could Have Prevented Husband's Death
An Idaho woman is suing the state's Transportation Department, saying it could have prevented the death of her husband, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2004. The woman's attorney argues that the driver should not have even had a legal driver's license due to his nine previous DUI convictions. The attorney said Idaho has a statute in its law stating that it's illegal to give a habitual drunk driver a license, but it's never been implemented.
The Idaho Transportation Department settled the case out of court; however, the widow and attorney will be working further to create legislation to change Idaho's Habitual Drunkard law, which is expected to be introduced in 2010.
Missouri: DWI Laws for Utility Vehicles & Mandatory Ignition Interlocks for Repeat Offenders
A new Missouri bill (effective July 9, 2009) states that any person convicted of more than two DWI convictions is required to install an ignition interlock device. It is now enforced by the Department of Revenue (instead of the courts) and offenders must file proof of installation with the director of the Department of Revenue in order to have his or her license reinstated. The device must also be on the person's car for at least 6 months following the date of reinstatement. If the person fails to maintain proof of having the device, the person will be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor.
The bill also defined the term utility vehicle as "any motorized vehicle manufactured and used exclusively for off-highway use which is 63 inches or less in width, with an unladen dry weight of 1,850 pounds or less, traveling on four or six wheels, to be used primarily for landscaping, lawn care or maintenance purposes." It further stated all Missouri DWI laws apply for these vehicles, effective August 28, 2008.
DUI Law Updates for August 26, 2008
Colorado Lowers BAC Level for Boating Under the Influence
New legislation lowered Colorado's legal blood alcohol content (BAC) level for boating under the influence (BUI) from .10% to .08%. The new law, which went in effect on August 6, applies to all watercrafts and was partially in response to the 2006 death of 2-year-old Shay Smith, who drowned after falling off a raft tied to the boat his father was driving with a BAC of .084%. The penalties of DUI in Colorado include a misdemeanor charge, prison time, fines between $200 and $1,000, loss of boat operating privileges, and community service. Colorado authorities say they are participating in an increased BUI enforcement period through Labor Day.
In Arizona, Drunk Boaters Now Face Mandatory Jail Time
Drunk-driving boaters in Arizona use to avoid jail time for their first offense-but that's all changed due to a new state law. Starting next year, those caught operating a boat with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level at or above .08% will serve a mandatory 10-day jail sentence, among other possible consequences. Officials said the new Arizona DUI laws are meant to help lower the number of alcohol-related injuries and deaths on the waterways.
DUI Law Updates for August 7, 2008
California Senate to Vote on Ignition Interlock Mandate When it Reconvenes
California has been working to improve its DUI laws all year long, with increased penalties for DUI manslaughter and broadened use of monitoring bracelets after DUI conviction just the latest examples of efforts made by lawmakers in that state to curb drunk driving. A new bill that will be taken up by the Senate when it reconvenes would follow the trend of mandating ignition interlock devices for all DUI offenders, including those convicted of DUI for the first time. Under current California DUI law, judges can order ignition interlock as a requirement for those granted driving privileges for work or alcohol treatment; this new provision would expand that level of enforcement. The bill flew through the Assembly and now faces a tougher challenge in the Senate.
Controversial Zero-Tolerance Nevada DUI Law for Drugs Under Scrutiny
A controversial Nevada DUI law has come under scrutiny recently after the arrest of a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper for the presence of marijuana in his system. According to Nevada DUI law, any measurable quantity of drug in the victim's system brings a DUI charge. One famous case involved a woman named Jessica Williams, who eight years ago killed six teenagers in an accident, and whose body contained trace amounts of marijuana of up to a few parts per billion from smoking marijuana the night before. In Williams' case, she was not impaired, though her body contained the trace amounts of the drug.
Officials are worried that other Nevada laws might be in conflict with these harsh DUI laws, such as laws allowing individuals to use medical marijuana and the legalization of parts of the cannabis plant that are not in the leaf. In each case, individuals would not have broken the law if they had small amounts in their system, but could still go to prison if they tested positive for any amount. Total DUI will keep you updated on this interesting and potentially devastating legislation as officials work to change it!
DUI Law Updates for July 17, 2008
Nebraska Supreme Court Sets the Record Straight on Administrative License Suspension
While Nebraska has taken steps to address its DUI laws, which groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving have branded as some of the worst in the country, the state Supreme Court recently ruled on a case that upholds one of their stricter DUI laws. Four men who lost their commercial driving licenses for 90 days after they were charged with DUI while driving personal cars in 2006 filed a lawsuit challenging the suspension. They argued that the suspension constituted double jeopardy, since they were being punished twice for the same crime. However, as the men would have realized after reading the Total DUI guide to Administrative License Suspensions, these suspensions are civil actions, not criminal, as other DUI charges are. This means that they do not violate the double jeopardy provision, as the Supreme Court ruled.
Missouri Join Ignition Interlock Club with New DUI Law
The governor of Missouri today is signing into law a bill that tightens penalties for multiple DUI offenders. Under the new law, a person convicted of a second or subsequent DUI charge will be required to show proof of installation of an ignition interlock device, or a breathalyzer that must be passed to start the vehicle engine. Before the bill passed, courts had discretion to require installation of an ignition interlock, and statistics showed that they required it only about 20 percent of the time for repeat offenders.
DUI Law Updates for July 8, 2008
Dram Shop Law in MA In Need of Overhaul
State lawmakers in Massachusetts have vowed to fix a law to make bars "hit hard" for serving drunken drivers one too many. While such dram shop laws that make bars legally liable for contributing to the drunkenness of a drunken driver are fairly common in many states, not all are enforced equally. Lawmakers claim that, as it currently stands, the Massachusetts law on the subject has allowed bars to avoid punishment. Amendments would force drunk drivers to testify about the bar where they had last had a drink under oath, as well as implement a minimum punishment for bars named multiple times.
CA Steps Up with Nation's Toughest DUI Manslaughter Law
A new California DUI law went into effect on July 1st. The bill would set mandatory charges of second-degree murder for those who are convicted of killing someone while driving under the influence. The bill would also make it a requirement for those seeking a California driver's license to sign a statement acknowledging their understanding of this penalty. Even first-time drivers would be affected by the new penalty. The penalty for second-degree murder is 15 years to life.
DUI Law Updates for July 3, 2008
Illinois Enacts Ignition Interlock Mandate for First-Time DUI Offenders
Illinois joined the growing club of states over the past few years that have added legislation to its statutes that require installation of ignition interlock devices after conviction of DUI, even for first offenders. The law gives incentive for those convicted of DUI to comply with the new regulation, since it lifts the 30-day ban on driving completely for offenders to drive to and from work for those who have installed their car breathalyzers early. The measure has drawn some criticism, since it could discriminate against those who do not have the money to pay for installation-typically, offenders must pay to rent and maintain their own ignition interlocks. The new requirement will go into effect January 1, 2009.
"Baby DUI" Law Goes into Effect, Making VA Young Drivers Think Twice about Drinking and Driving
New Virginia DUI laws that went into effect at the beginning of July attempt to discourage teenagers from drinking and driving. Affectionately called the "Baby DUI law," this tough measure enforces a zero-tolerance mandate for anyone under the age of 21 who is caught driving under the influence in the form of a one year revocation of his or her driver's license. This provision comes as part of a package of increased penalties for driving minors, including more hours training behind the wheel for a license, as well as a meeting with a judge to go over driving rules and a map highlighting accident hotspots in the county.
DUI Law Updates for June 26, 2008
Georgia DUI Penalties to Increase on July 1st
House Bill 336, which passed earlier this year in the Georgia state legislature, will toughen penalties on multiple DUI offenders in the state. Now, starting July 1st, drivers who incur a fourth Georgia DUI conviction within ten years will be given an automatic felony on their criminal records. While the first two convictions are only misdemeanors, the third conviction is an aggravated misdemeanor, which increases the penalty. The felony, meanwhile, means from 1 to 5 years in jail. First-time offenders will also see a new component to the mandatory penalty: in addition to driving classes, fines, and community service, offenders will have to take a clinical evaluation and complete a treatment program.
Ohio Will Be Toughest in Nation on Mandatory Blood and Urine Tests
Ohio governor Ted Strickland is expected sign a new DUI bill into law later this week that would make blood or urine tests mandatory for multiple DUI offenders. Currently, authorities must get a judge's warrant to test blood or urine for alcohol or drugs without consent. Ohio's law would allow officers to avoid this process, allowing officers to take a blood or urine test if the suspect registers as a previous offender. This law would make Ohio's one of the toughest in the nation on these mandatory tests; while other states have similar mandates, they only apply after a fatal crash or severe injury. The ACLU has come out publicly against the law for DUI in Ohio and expects to challenge its constitutionality when enacted.
DUI Law Updates for June 12, 2008
Wisconsin Judges Move to Jail DUI Offenders Immediately after Sentencing
Judges in Wisconsin are considering the idea of making it a requirement to report for sentencing immediately after a DUI sentence has been handed down. District 1 Chief Judge Kitty K. Brennan has vowed to order all those convicted of DUI in her court, at least, to report to jail immediately after sentencing, though the final decision rests in the hands of the county superintendent for corrections. Especially for a crime like DUI, in which the risk of an additional offense is great, judges are recognizing the sense in preventing Wisconsin DUI offenders from having another chance to flout the law on the open road.
Hawaii Passes New Ignition Interlock Law
We've kept you apprised of the latest involving Hawaii ignition interlock legislation, and the possibility that one of the nation's most lax interlock policies might be getting tougher on multiple DUI offenders specifically. The bill has now officially passed the chambers of the state legislature and awaits the signature of Governor Linda Lingle. To reiterate the proposals contained in the new Hawaii DUI law, ignition interlock devices (breathalyzers connected to a car's ignition system) would be required for multiple DUI offenders, first-time DUI offenders with a BAC of 0.16 or higher, and up to a judge's discretion for all other first-time offenders.
Some California Drivers Get Monitoring Bracelets for DUI Conviction
As of May 1, Riverside County (California) judges now have the option of placing misdemeanor and felony drunk drivers under the monitoring of an ankle bracelet ("Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring" or SCRAM) as part of their probation for DUI convictions. The SCRAM bracelets read and store information about beverages consumed, which is downloaded and analyzed. Offenders themselves pay for the costs of using the bracelets, on a sliding scale, with a "low" cost of $5 per day.
DUI Law Updates for May 29, 2008
Washington DUI Penalties Toughen to Felony for Fifth Conviction
New Washington DUI penalties have made it tougher on repeat DUI offenders. Under the new Washington state DUI laws, DUI offenders with at least 4 prior DUI convictions, or just one conviction for vehicular homicide or vehicular assault while DUI, can be charged with a felony. And, whereas prior charges brought time in the county jail, the felony charge would lead to a sentence in the state prison. Legislators who put the Washington DUI laws into effect last year are hoping that they will serve as a better deterrent than fines and county jail time, as well as ignition interlock devices and license suspensions, which often do not stop repeat offenders from continuing to drive and rack up additional penalties.
California Seeks to Lower Standard for "Extreme" Drunk Driving
California state Senator Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, has sponsored Senate Bill 1190, which would expand judges' authority to mandate the installation of ignition interlock devices in their cars to enable ignition. Currently, the California DUI law requires installation of these devices for drivers with excessive blood-alcohol levels of 0.20 percent or higher; Oropeza's California DUI bill would lower this level of 0.15 percent. Also, judges could extend the penalties for up to three years after a conviction. Many states have been enacting and enforcing penalties for these so-called "extreme" drunk drivers, who are much more likely to cause a fatality than a sober driver.
DUI Law Updates for May 22, 2008
MADD urges tougher reform in Wisconsin
Wisconsin lawmakers are set to take up a bill that would enhance Wisconsin DUI penalties for multiple offenders. However, MADD has publicly challenged state legislators in Wisconsin to take their push for reform even further, by including mandatory ignition interlock installation for all those convicted of Wisconsin DUI, including first-time offenders. MADD sent the press release to various news outlets, hoping to use statements made by the Governor and legislators sponsoring a new bill to improve Wisconsin DUI laws in what is currently the worst state in the United States in terms of alcohol-related fatalities. The bill would only enhance Wisconsin DUI penalties for a third DUI conviction, increasing the violation to a felony as well as revoking driving privileges and confiscating a vehicle after a third conviction.
Law Enforcement Across the Nation Braces for Holiday Weekend
The legality of DUI checkpoints has been debated all the way up to the Supreme Court, which decided that the Fourth Amendment's provision against unlawful searches did not prevent law enforcement from conducting checkpoints under certain regulations. One such regulation is publication of the details of the checkpoint in a newspaper. With the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, many local newspapers across the United States are publicizing sobriety checkpoints as well as extra officers on the roads to prevent a fun holiday from becoming a nightmare for some drivers. Patrols in Florida, Colorado, California, and Pennsylvania, just to name a few, are planned.
DUI Law Updates for May 15, 2008
Arizona DUI Bill Vetoed By Governor
Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano vetoed a bill that would have changed strict Arizona DUI laws by cutting in half the penalty for first-time offenders. Currently, first-time Arizona DUI offenders face a 1-year mandatory use of an ignition interlock device (a breathalyzer device installed in your car that you must pass before your car will start). The bill, House Bill 2395, would have reduced this Arizona DUI penalty for first-time offenders to six months after completion of drug or alcohol treatment. Napolitano wrote in a letter accompanying her veto that she believed any decision to change this aspect of Arizona DUI law was "premature" before lawmakers had a chance to evaluate its success.
Pending Bill in Hawaii to Require Ignition Interlock for Multiple Offenders
A bill passed by the Hawaii legislature that would modify Hawaii DUI laws is awaiting the signature of Governor Linda Lingle. The bill, written by state legislator Sharon Har, would require mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in the car of someone who has been convicted of multiple Hawaii DUI offenses or someone who tests with a BAC higher than 0.15 percent. A judge would also be provided with the ability to require installation of the device for first-time offenders deemed severe enough to warrant the mandate. Current Hawaii DUI laws do not require installation of an ignition interlock device.
Gamecock State Steps Up South Carolina DUI Laws after Months of Debate
As we have detailed in previous updates, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has been prioritizing the passage of new DUI legislation that will toughen up the state's lax laws on drunk driving. And Sanford recently signed into South Carolina DUI law a bill that will do just that. South Carolina DUI penalties are now tougher at each level: first-time offenders can expect up to 90 days in jail or a $1,000 fine, while second-time offenders face up to three years, third-time offenders up to five years, and a mandatory seven years for a fourth-time offender. The central part of the bill is the doubling of the current license suspension for breath test refusal, at a mandatory six months now. The bill also closes another loophole that South Carolina DUI lawyers have exploited, by no longer requiring Miranda rights to be read twice to DUI suspects.
DUI Law Updates for April 10, 2008
Colorado Considers Higher Bail for Aggravated DUI Offenders
Colorado lawmakers in the state House of Representatives approved a measure, House Bill 1377, that would encourage judges to set bail higher for aggravated DUI offenders. Those arrested on suspicion of Colorado DUI without a valid license under the law would have bail set at $10,000, while DUI suspects who have fled from police would have bail set at $50,000. Some representatives have protested against any proposed Colorado DUI law that would interfere with judicial discretion in sentencing; they will undoubtedly continue their objections and could potentially overturn the bill before it possibly becomes a part of Colorado DUI law.
MADD Pushes Ignition Interlock Bill in Florida
Florida doesn't require installation of an ignition interlock device for first-time DUI offenders, a feature of their DUI law that Mothers Against Drunk Driving wants to end. They may get their way to some extent, as a bill requiring just that has passed the Florida Senate Transportation Committee and will move on for further debate and voting. However, the bill would not mandate an ignition interlock for all DUI offenders, only those with a BAC of 0.15 or higher. This would expand the current law, which only requires ignition interlock for DUI offenders with a BAC of .20 or higher.
Nebraska Nears Ignition Interlock Mandate
The state legislature in Nebraska, one of a diminishing number of states not to have a mandatory ignition interlock law for all DUI offenders on its books, has taken the steps to bring such a law into effect by passing a bill, LB 736, to require first-time DUI offenders to obtain a permit for an ignition interlock device. According to the provisions of the Nebraska DUI bill, DUI offenders whose licenses have been revoked for 90 days could apply for an interlock device at 30 days in order to drive to work, school or alcohol treatment. Lawmakers hope to encourage sober driving as well as compliance by providing this incentive.
DUI Law Updates for March 20, 2008
Massachusetts Considering Draconian BAC Limit of 0.02? Think Again.
A Massachusetts state representative wants to enact a true drunk driving ban (or OUI, operating under the influence, as it is called in Massachusetts). Rep. James Fagan from Taunton has proposed changing the state's blood alcohol content (BAC) limit from the national standard of 0.08 to a strict 0.02 limit. This low of a limit would essentially make any drinking of alcohol in conjunction with driving illegal, even as long as hours after the fact.
Reason magazine's Hit and Run blog points out that Fagan is a DUI attorney in addition to his work as a state representative. The blog also directs us to a Boston Herald column revealing that Fagan admits his bill has no chance of passing, but that he wrote it to "make a point." Fagan's point is well taken, but perhaps he should be advised to push his public service message through other means, rather than tying up the time of the state legislature on bills he knows have no chance of passing.
Arizona Restaurants Feels the Effects of Harsher DUI Laws
New, harsher DUI laws have combined with other Arizona legislation to make restaurateurs feel the crunch during the current nationwide recession. Arizona features a year-old smoking ban, a new minimum-wage law and, because of its desert location, sees routinely higher food and gas prices than normal. Combined with the required ignition interlock law for first-time DUI offenders and a penchant for sobriety checkpoints and other strategic DUI task forces, Arizona residents are hesitant to drink alcohol at restaurants at all.
This is good for curbing drunk drivers before they get behind the wheel, but not good for business. According to the Arizona Restaurant and Hospitality Association, alcohol sales have dropped 15 to 20 percent from last year, and the losses will cause many business who rely on the high bills incurred by alcohol drinkers to fail.
DUI Law Updates for March 12, 2008
Kentucky Hearing Bill to Stop Shock Probation in Fatal DUI Accident Cases
A Kentucky family has taken on a social advocacy role after a family member was killed by a drunk driver. The possibility that the DUI motorist who killed Frankfort man Freddie Browne may be released on shock probation has his wife April speaking out in support of a bill in the Kentucky House Judiciary Committee. House Bill 25 would disallow shock probation as an option for a motorist responsible for a fatal DUI crash. However, opponents of the bill argue that it would take away power from sentencing judges from exercising discretion in each case. The DUI driver, Paul Gorence, will return to court in April to withdraw his previous plea of guilty.
"Scarlet Letter" License Plates for DUI Voted Down in Maryland and Washington
Though consideration of special license plates for DUI offenders has been gaining in popularity lately with bills proposing these drastic measures in Washington state, Maryland legislators followed Washington legislators in voting against these "scarlet letters." The Maryland bill would have required repeat DUI offenders to install special license tags that spell out D-U-I at a cost of $500. The Washington measure would have alerted fellow motorists to the driver's history by using a bright yellow plate. Both measures failed to garner enough support in the legislature to pass into law. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the drunk driving advocacy group, takes the official position that so-called "shaming" techniques are not effective in stopping DUI.
DUI Law Updates for February 21, 2008
Wyoming Strikes Down Bill to Hold Drunk Drivers Until Sober
The Wyoming Senate Judiciary Committee decided not to approve a bill that would have required law enforcement officers to hold individuals arrested for DUI in jail until they were sober when they posted bail. According to news reports, members of the Judiciary Committee were concerned that the bill might not effectively serve the intended purpose of keeping drunk drivers off the road. One of the main concerns voiced was that many multiple DUI offenders would not be discouraged by the plan, and would simply return to a bar to get drunk all over again. No word on whether the bill's sponsor will pursue an amended bill.
California Bill Seeks to Remedy DUI Law Inconsistencies
A bill was introduced into the California State Assembly by Assemblyman John Benoit of Bermuda Dunes that would impose harsher penalties for manslaughter while DUI and seek to remedy inconsistent California DUI penalties. Currently, a DUI offense that causes a severe personal injury can receive a maximum six-year sentence, while a DUI that causes a death only receives a maximum four-year sentence. The bill would also revise statutes that regulate how prior offenses are treated, including lengthening the period of time in which prior DUI offenses would result in increased DUI penalties.
Tennessee Aims to Tweak DUI Bills to Enforce Tougher Penalties
Measures passed the Tennessee Senate Judiciary Committee that would serve to strengthen Tennessee's DUI laws, according to the sponsors of the three bills that passed the committee on Tuesday, February 19. One senate bill would eliminate the two-hour waiting period within which a breath test must be administered to be used as evidence, while the other bills would make the penalties stiffer for driving with an open container as well as multiple DUI offenses at the fifth offense and beyond. The measures will potentially go to vote this legislative session.
DUI Law Updates for February 14, 2008
South Carolina Going Soft on Much-Needed DUI Updates?
New DUI legislation in South Carolina has been under heated discussion for weeks now. Governor Mark Sanford has waged a public relations battle for much tougher DUI laws designed to curb South Carolina's elevated rate of DUI-related deaths. News programs and columnists have discussed the merits of the new law, hashing over details of a proposed bill that would change the state's rather lenient non-tiered system of punishments for DUI offenses, as well as their current allowance of breathalyzer test refusals. Governor Sanford event went so far as to create YouTube videos to appeal to a broad range of citizens in the state.
Now some are worried that an amended bill that passed the Senate judiciary committee is too soft on DUI offenders, including no tiered DUI penalty system for first-time offenders. Advocates of the bill are meeting resistance from many state senators who are also trial lawyers, and from experience believe that repeat offenders are where to focus the most penalties. However, many argue that DUI should be punishable to a greater degree from the first offense, and this dispute will likely come to the forefront again when the Senate as a whole takes up the debate, probably next week. Stay tuned for more from the Palmetto State on this new DUI legislation!
Washington Proposes "Scarlet Letter" DUI Law in Form of Yellow License Plates
Republican state senator Mike Carrell has proposed a bill in the state Senate that would let everyone driving know who has been convicted of a DUI charge by forcing those convicted of a DUI to display a bright, fluorescent-yellow license plate on their vehicles. Carrell believes that the bill would help both by letting drivers give these drivers a wide berth on the road as well as help create a public stigma for DUI.
However, some see the potential for public shame being a bad idea, even for those convicted of DUI. Surprisingly, militant anti-DUI group MADD does not support the idea in Washington state or other places where such a practice is done, including Ohio, which uses yellow plates with crimson letters to mark drivers with DUIs. Such public marking laws are reminiscent of practices implemented by Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, Arizona, who changed the jumpsuit for prison inmates in his county to bright pink.
DUI Law Updates for February 5, 2008
Missouri Steps Up to Make Ignition Interlocks Mandatory for First-Time DUI Offenders
The Missouri state legislation recently held a hearing and voted on proposed mandatory ignition interlock legislation, whose provisions would make it a requirement for those convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock device on their automobiles. While Missouri had previously required mandatory installation of ignition interlocks for second time or more DUI offenders, the new law would make an ignition interlock device mandatory for first-time DUI offenders as well.
The bill summary, HB1423, reads thus:
- "This bill specifies that anyone who has had his or her driving license and privilege suspended due to an alcohol-related traffic offense will be deemed to have not fulfilled the suspension and a restricted driving privilege will not be issued until the person has completed 30 days of a suspension and has filed proof with the Director of the Department of Revenue that his or her motor vehicle is equipped with a functioning, certified ignition interlock device as a required condition of the person's restricted driving privilege. If the person fails to maintain the proof, the restricted driving privilege will be terminated or his or her license suspended, or both."
(The bill summary and relevant links were graciously provided by Missouri State Representative Mike Daus on his blog).
South Dakota Considers Expansion of Its "24/7 Program" for DUI Multiple Offenders
South Dakota lawmakers are considering a different type of 24/7 breath alcohol monitoring, with a program in place that they hope to expand to cover more DUI and alcohol offenders across the state. The current "24/7 program" that requires convicted DUI multiple offenders to go to the county sheriff's office twice a day to pass a breath test or face jail time would be expanded to cover parolees supervised by the state Department of Corrections and those supervised by the Unified Judicial System.
The 24/7 program began in 2004, and has since tested nearly 6,000 people over 850,000 times. Felony drunk driving in South Dakota currently accounts for one-third of all felony convictions, claims the program's found, SD Attorney General Larry Long. Under the new state House of Representatives bill, law enforcement officers would also implement drug patch testing and urinalysis testing as part of the 24/7 program.
DUI Law Updates for January 22, 2008
Oregon Makes Ignition Interlocks Mandatory, Makes Minor Revisions to Oregon DUI Laws
While most DUI revisions enacted at the beginning of the new year in Oregon were minor, their effects could be big in terms of the way that DUI arrests are made and the way that DUI suspects are prosecuted and penalized.
In a law that is becoming increasingly more common across the United States, Oregon has made a law requiring first-time drunk driving offenders to install an ignition interlock device for one year, while a second conviction will mandate an additional two years of use. Drivers who are under the legal age for consuming alcohol are now subject to automatic license suspensions for alcohol-related offenses, as well as new classification of possession of alcohol while driving as a Class A misdemeanor offense, for underage drivers.
Also, the beginning of 2008 has created a new criminal charge on the books in Oregon, "aggravated vehicular homicide." This charge carries a minimum 20-year sentence, and may be given to drivers convicted of a second vehicular homicide while intoxicated. A minimum 7.5 year sentence is now required of a second conviction of seriously injuring someone while driving under the influence
California Cracks Down on Repeat DUI Offenders, Advances DUI Education
While the state of California has been in the news lately for its bans on cell phone talking and text messaging in cars for minors, the DUI laws for this West Coast state have been undergoing minor changes to improve safety for drivers across the state. California has the standard "per se" blood alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08, as is standard across the United States, yet a small change on the books in 2008 is aimed at discouraging repeat offenders of driving under the influence. According to the new law, a person who is on probation for a DUI offense will have a strict zero tolerance limit concerning alcohol, with the "per se" minimum for persons on DUI probation lowered to 0.01.
Further, a recently signed bill-which will, however, not take effect until July 1, 2008-is aimed at educating drivers of the dangers not only drunk driving but also the grave consequences they will face if they are arrested or convicted of an alcohol-related offense. All those who apply for a driver's license will be required to sign a statement that they are aware of the dangers of DUI and that it could result in death. Also, they agree that they are aware of the California law stating that if they drive impaired and kill another person, they will be charged with murder. In these ways, California government officials are stepping up crucial efforts in trying to prevent drunk driving in 2008, both from a legal and educational perspective.
DUI Law Updates for November 13, 2007
Alabama Governor Calls for New DUI Law Creating Aggravated DUI
Near the end of October, Alabama Governor Bob Riley was among a group of people calling for a stronger state DUI law that would create the crime of aggravated DUI. Current Alabama DUI law sets the legally-drunk blood alcohol content limit at 0.08 percent and also classifies the first three convictions for DUI as misdemeanors. A fourth such conviction is considered a Class C felony with a minimum and mandatory jail sentence of at least 10 days under current Alabama DUI law. With all that said, the proposed Alabama DUI law would increase the DUI penalties for anyone with a BAC of 0.15 percent or more and also give state prosecutors the power to use previous DUI convictions toward increasing penalties.
Here are the main points of this proposed Alabama DUI law, which did not make it out of session this year but will be reintroduced in 2008:
- The current minimum mandatory misdemeanor punishment for the first three DUI convictions in which the BAC is between 0.08 percent and 0.15 percent will remain the same; however, following convictions would increase the minimum mandatory jail time from no less than 10 days to no less than 120 days;
- A first conviction for aggravated DUI where the BAC is 0.15 percent or higher will result in a one-year driver's license suspension and a $1,200 fine;
- Following aggravated DUI convictions would boost fines from $2,200 for a second conviction to $8,200 for a fourth conviction, but that's not it. A subsequent aggravated DUI conviction would result in 60 days in prison for a second such conviction to 240 days for a fourth conviction. Each conviction would lead to longer driver's license suspensions.
A Debate about South Carolina DUI Law
On Halloween, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford spoke about the need to change current DUI law in the state. With that said, there seems to be some disconnect about whether there is anything wrong with South Carolina DUI law. Sanford and others have said that current South Carolina DUI law is full of loopholes and does not make any sense. They have thus urged for a new South Carolina DUI law that would close previous loopholes and bring more clarity to prosecuting drunk driving.
To Sanford's dismay, some state senators have said that there is no problem with current South Carolina DUI law, and that the state rather needs to hire more troopers to deal with drunk driving. In response to this belief, Sanford has urged South Carolina residents to call their state senators and urge for a new DUI law. We'll keep you updated on this quest for a new South Carolina DUI law, which is sure to be a bigger story in the next legislative session.
DUI Law Updates for October 30, 2007
Important Change to Alabama DUI Law
Alabama prosecutors are not too happy with a new DUI law in the state regarding when a DUI can be prosecuted as a felony. Under previous Alabama DUI law, a fourth DUI could be charged as a felony and possibly bring on harsher DUI penalties for drunk driving suspects. Under the new Alabama DUI law, four DUIs must have occurred within a five-year period in order for prosecutors to bring on a felony charge.
New California DUI Law Commemorates Death of Orange Councilman
Last week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers gathered to commemorate a new California DUI law in honor of Orange City Councilman Steven Ambriz, who was killed in a traffic accident last year by a woman driving under the influence of methamphetamines. This new California DUI law (also known as the Steven Ambriz Act) will attempt to make it easier for prosecutors to pursue second-degree murder charges vin fatal drunk driving accidents by requiring all Californians applying for a driver's license to sign a statement acknowledging the dangers of DUI.
Kentucky DUI Legislation to Address Driving under the Influence of Drugs
In his continuing effort to prevent people from driving under the influence of drugs, Kentucky State Senator Ray S. Jones (D-Pikeville) has indicated that he will propose a new DUI law when the General Assembly returns this coming January. Jones said that his proposed Kentucky DUI law would establish a per-se offense for driving with any controlled substance (including prescription and illegal drugs) in one's system. Jones indicated that people who are driving with a valid drug prescription from a doctor and are complying with the proper dosage would not be charged with driving under the influence of drugs. Jones filed a similar bill in 2007 which passed in the state Senate but failed in the House.
DUI Law Updates for October 18, 2007
Proposed Michigan DUI Law Involves - You Guessed It - Ignition Interlocks
Under Michigan DUI law, it is illegal to be driving or operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent. With that said, a proposed Michigan DUI law would aim to boost the DUI penalties for people with extremely high BAC levels of 0.15 percent or more. Under this proposed Michigan DUI law, DUI offenders with a BAC of 0.15 percent or higher would be considered "super drunk" and thus required to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles.
There's No Place Like Home - Ignition Interlocks Coming to Kansas
Repeat DUI offenders in Dodge City, Kansas will be unable to get up and dodge ignition interlocks. A new Kansas DUI law will require all two-time DUI offenders to either install these devices in each vehicle that they own or rather lease the devices for two years. As for three-time DUI offenders, they will be required to have these devices in their vehicles for three years following a year-long driver's license suspension. A fourth DUI conviction will also include a year driver's license suspension as well as four years of being required to have ignition interlocks on vehicles.
DUI Law Updates for October 4, 2007
2008 General Assembly to Consider Tougher Kentucky DUI Laws
Kentucky Representative Jody Richards recently filed several pieces of DUI legislation that will be considered in the state's 2008 General Assembly. Richards' proposed Kentucky DUI laws aim to lower the BAC percentage from 0.18 to 0.15 percent in order to increase DUI penalties and make worthy of an aggravated crime, as well as striving to amend a current law by removing the statutory rights of DUI suspects to call a DUI attorney upon arrest.
New Las Vegas DUI Law Addresses More than Underage Drinking
On October 1st, a new Las Vegas DUI law took effect to further fight against underage drinking and driving. This new Las Vegas DUI laws essentially puts more responsibility on people who throw parties in which people under the age of 21 drink and then later drive. Specifically, a person who throws such a party could now be found liable for damages in a civil lawsuit under the new Las Vegas DUI law if the minor injures someone or damages property while driving drunk. Prior to this new Nevada DUI law, the person who hosted the party would most likely not face any trouble as a lawyer would have to prove intent to get a minor drunk.
Also under this new Las Vegas DUI law, police will be able to keep a person in jail until their blood alcohol content (BAC) falls to 0.04 percent. It is of course illegal to be driving or operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of 0.08 percent under the DUI laws in all 50 states. The new Las Vegas DUI law also states that anyone with drugs in their system has to stay in jail for at least 12 hours.
Illinois Governor Signs Another Piece of DUI Legislation after Ignition Interlock Law
On September 26th, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed a DUI law that is expected to make it easier to suspend the driver's licenses of drunken drivers in the state. Essentially, the new Illinois DUI law amends section 6-201(a)(7) of the Illinois Vehicle Code, which already provides for an automatic one-year suspension of licenses for people who are convicted of drug crimes while actually being in physical control of a vehicle. Under the new Illinois DUI law, set to take effect July 1, 2008, it will be much harder for a DUI offender to get a restricted driving permit to go to places like work or school. While current Illinois DUI law takes into account whether the person can show that there are no alternative means of transportation, the new DUI law will require an offender to prove this in order to get a restricted driving permit. This new Illinois DUI law will also make four-time DUI offenders ineligible to obtain restricted driving permits.
DUI Law Updates for September 13, 2007
New York Expands Ignition Interlock Program Statewide
Governor Eliot Spitzer announced last week that he's signed legislation into a New York DUI law that will expand its ignition interlock program statewide as opposed to just the several counties that currently have such programs. This New York DUI law will essentially give judges more power and discretion in requiring convicted drunk driving offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.
DUI Law Updates for September 11, 2007
G-Rod Signs Another Bill into Illinois DUI Law
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich recently signed legislation that makes it easier to convict impaired or reckless drivers who have killed or injured people in school or work zones when excessively speeding or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Senate Bill 363 is also referred to as "Jeff's Law" in honor of a former Illinois Department of Transportation employee who was killed in a construction zone in April 2006. Specifically, 58-year-old Jeff Heath was struck and killed by a speeding driver who was trying to get around an accident at the time.
This new Illinois DUI law also gives judges the power to assume that criminal suspects were driving recklessly if they killed a child or construction worker in a safety zone and were found to be Driving Under the Influence or speeding. Current Illinois law mandates a minimum $375 ticket for drivers found speeding through construction zones. In addition to this new law, Blagojevich recently signed ignition interlock legislation that has been described by some as the "most stringent" state law concerning ignition interlock devices.
DUI Law Updates for September 06, 2007
Hawaii Looking into Ignition Interlock Law
While it's currently one of four states without ignition interlock provisions, Hawaii may be moving in that direction next year. The Governor's Highway Safety Council just recently recommended a Hawaii DUI law mandating the use of ignition interlock devices as a means to prevent repeat drunk driving offenses. A Star Bulletin story detailed that Hawaiian officials plan to introduce such ignition interlock legislation next year. A similar Senate measure this year was deferred to the 2008 session while the state House resolved to have the Transportation Department study ignition interlocks in more detail.
Proposed California DUI Law Involves What Else but Ignition Interlocks
Ignition interlocks have been all the rage in recent DUI legislation, and you can now throw California into the diverse mix of states considering these devices as means to curtail drunk driving. State Senator Carole Madigan of San Francisco has introduced Senate Bill 177, which would mandate the installation of ignition interlock devices on any vehicle available to people convicted of drunk driving This bill will not be acted on until next year so there's no current telling whether it will eventually become a part of California DUI law.
DUI Law Updates for August 31, 2007
More Information on New Illinois DUI Law Boosting Ignition Interlock Penalties
On August 24th, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich signed legislation into a law requiring first time DUI offenders to pass a breath test every time they plan to drive. Described as being one of the strictest measures in the nation, this new Illinois DUI law would require 30,000 first-time DUI offenders to blow into an ignition interlock device installed in the vehicle prior to being able to start the car and drive. The breath alcohol ignition interlock devices would also periodically test these drivers while in the running car.
Illinois now joins New Mexico, Arizona and Louisiana as states requiring first-time offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. Senator John Cullerton of Chicago said that the Illinois ignition interlock device law will be stricter than those laws in these three other states because the breath test results will be monitored by Secretary of State Jesse White's office.
Pennsylvania Bill on Ignition Interlock Devices for First-Time Offenders
A proposed Pennsylvania DUI la would require first-time offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles in order to drive. Ignition interlock devices are currently mandated in Pennsylvania for repeat drunken drivers who have obtained restricted driver's licenses. About 4,000 repeat DUI offenders currently have ignition interlock devices installed in their vehicles.
Failed Tennessee DUI Law Proposal Expected to Bounce Back in 2008
A proposed Tennessee DUI law that would have required an immediate suspension of a DUI suspect's license upon arrest failed to pass the state Legislature earlier this year. With that said, Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen has vowed to push this "administrative license revocation" legislation next year. Tennessee is currently one of nine states that does not have some form of license revocation. Tennessee DUI suspects now keep their driver's licenses until the case goes to trial and a judge orders revocation during sentencing.
DUI Law Updates for August 28, 2007
Illinois Governor Signs DUI Law Boosting Ignition Interlock Penalties
Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich recently signed Senate Bill 585 into a law that boosts the penalties for DUI offenders who try to bypass ignition interlocks. As just example of what this new Illinois DUI law will do, the Secretary of State will suspend a person's driver's license for an additional year from the conviction date upon receiving a report that the person was driving without an ignition interlock device when he or she was required to do so. As for people who are renting a car and imposed by law to have an ignition interlock device, they must notify the leasing agency of this requirement. If they do not and rent a car without an ignition interlock device, they will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor under this new Illinois DUI law.
DUI Law Updates for August 17, 2007
New Arizona DUI Law Expected to Triple Ignition Interlock Usage
A new Arizona DUI law requiring all drunken driving offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles is set to take effect in mid-September. With that said, this new DUI law in Arizona is expected to triple the use of ignition interlocks in the state. The Arizona Motor Vehicle Division has said that more than 7,300 ignition interlock devices are currently in use in the state. That number is expected to jump by 17,000 interlock devices per year following the onset of the new Arizona DUI law.
Even More Proposed Ignition Interlock Laws - This Time in Michigan
The Michigan House is currently considering legislation that would boost the DUI penalties for being convicted of an extreme DUI or a repeat DUI offense. Specifically, House Bills 4920 and 4921 would require repeat offenders and drivers with a blood alcohol content higher than 0.15 percent to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles for at least one year. Drunken drivers who install the ignition interlock device could get back on the road in as little as 45 days under these proposed Michigan DUI laws. Current Michigan DUI law stipulates a one-year driver's license suspension.
DUI Law Updates for August 14, 2007
New Massachusetts DUI Law on Ignition Interlocks
Did you know that a new Massachusetts DUI law allows a judge to order that an ignition interlock device be installed on the vehicle of DUI offenders, even if they've only been convicted of DUI once? While the state's old ignition interlock law said that a judge "may" require the device for repeat offenders, the new one requires the device to be installed for at least one year in the vehicle of anyone who had his or her driver's license revoked or suspended for an aggravated DUI.
Proposed Illinois Ignition Interlock Law Sitting on Governor's Desk
A proposed Illinois DUI law requiring all DUI offenders to get an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles has passed the State House and Senate and is being reviewed by Governor Rod Blagojevich. A CBS 2story detailed that there were 580 deaths in Illinois drunken driving accidents in 2005, and this proposed DUI law would aim to reduce such numbers by requiring offenders to blow into and pass the ignition interlock device in order to start their cars.
Interesting Study Sheds Some Light on Effectiveness of Certain State DUI Laws
A study in this month's issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that state OWI (operating while intoxicated) laws which immediately suspend a suspect's driver's license following a DUI arrest have reduced drunken driving accidents by five percent. The University of Florida study specifically examined fatal drunken driving accidents in 46 states over a 26-year time period and found that states with immediate driver's license suspension laws witnessed a decline in such accidents since the passage of the law. Forty-one states currently have DUI laws allowing for the immediate revocation of a driver's license after a DUI arrest.
DUI Law Updates for August 10, 2007
Tougher Louisiana DUI Law Takes Effect August 15th!
Under a new Louisiana DUI law recently signed by Governor Kathleen Blanco, first-time DUI offenders will lose their driver's licenses for one year. Current DUI law in Louisiana mandates a loss of driving privileges for 90 days. This new Louisiana DUI law will allow first-time offenders to get a "hardship license" to get back and forth to work, school or church in exchange to agreeing to install an ignition interlock device in their primary vehicle.
Proposed Kentucky DUI Law on Driving under the Influence of Drugs
While it is illegal to be driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08 percent or higher in Kentucky and all other 49 states, it is much harder to determine in the Bluegrass State the amount of drugs in one's system that constitutes being impaired. A proposed Kentucky DUI law would take care of this difficulty by allowing blood and urine tests that show particular drug levels and are taken within two hours of the traffic violation to be admissible by themselves in court. In other words, this new Kentucky DUI law would get rid of a current requirement in which a state laboratory official has to testify about the drug's effects regardless of the levels of the drug found in the suspect's system.
Cracking Down on Underage Drinking in South Carolina
Did you know that underage drinking enforcement legislation added more than a million dollars to the South Carolina state budget in this past year? In June, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford signed a prevention of underage drinking and access to alcohol act which now makes it illegal for minors to consume and try to purchase alcohol. This act also makes the fine for underage beer and wine offenses equal to a liquor offense.
DUI Law Updates for August 3, 2007
New Florida DUI Law for Repeat DUI Offenders
Florida Governor Charlie Crist recently signed a DUI bill into law that will require repeat DUI offenders to require a certain amount of insurance. Specifically, this new Florida DUI law will require these repeat offenders to carry bodily injury coverage in the amount of $100,000 per person, $300,000 per incident and $50,000 in property damage. Senator Dennis Jones and Representative Rick Kriseman co-sponsored this bill which became part of Florida DUI law.
DUI Law Updates for July 18, 2007
New Wyoming DUI Law for Driving under the Influence with Children in the Car
Getting arrested for DUI while driving with children in your car now carries greater DUI penalties in the state of Wyoming. Specifically, this new Wyoming DUI law defines children as anyone under the age of 16 and imposes potential prison terms of up to one year for first-time DUI offenders who are pulled over on suspicion of DUI with children in their vehicles. As for repeat offenders, they could now face up to five years in prison for a DUI conviction pertaining to another incident in which children were present in the vehicle. Learn more about this new Wyoming DUI law and another statute banning open containers in moving vehicles in the following article:
New Kansas DUI Law Implements Ignition Interlock Devices for Extreme DUI
It is currently illegal to be driving or operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent in all 50 states. With that said, recent additions to current Kansas DUI law will boost the penalties for offenders with a BAC of 0.15 percent or greater. Specifically, new Kansas DUI penalties under this law will include suspending the licenses of first-time offenders for one year. At the end of the suspension, these first-time DUI offenders with a BAC of 0.15 percent or greater will be required to drive with an ignition interlock device in their vehicles for another year.
As for repeat offenders, they will also have their driver's licenses suspended for a year and be required to have an ignition interlock device in their vehicle. However, here's the kicker. An offender with two occurrences of a 0.15 percent BAC or greater would have to drive with the ignition interlock device for two years instead of one. A third-time offender would have the ignition interlock system in his or her vehicle for three years after the driver's license suspension while a DUI offender with four BAC test results of 0.15 percent or greater would be required to drive with an ignition interlock for four years. Upon a fifth or subsequent occurrence of extreme DUI, the driver will now have his or her license permanently revoked.
New Hawaii DUI Law Also Addresses Extreme DUI
A new Hawaii DUI law has also increased the penalties for people with BAC test results of 0.15 percent. Specifically, this new Hawaii DUI law requires repeat offenders or highly intoxicated drivers to surrender their motor vehicle registration, driver's license and license plates to the arresting officer, who will issue temporary registration and plates until a review. This new DUI law in Hawaii mandates at least a six month and as much as a one year revocation of the license plates. Also under this Hawaii DUI law, the suspected driver is not eligible for a conditional driving permit and may also face 72 hours of community service, no less than 48 hours in jail, and a fine of $150 to $1,000 upon conviction.
New Washington DUI Law Makes Fifth DUI Conviction a Felony
A new Washington DUI law now makes it a felony to get five non-injury DUI convictions in a 10-year period. State Representative John Ahern championed this new Washington DUI law and called it a start when responding to critics who feel this law is still too lax. For example, drunk driving is considered a felony following two convictions in New York, Indiana and Oklahoma. Ahern added in a Spokesman Review story that state lawmakers will continue to have to work on this new Washington DUI law; indicating that more changes could be in store in time.
Arizona Ignition Interlock Law Set to Kick on September 19th
After much debate, a new Arizona DUI law requiring all drunken-driving offenders to use ignition interlock devices for a full year.