News - January 6, 2010

Assemblyman Jerry Hill aims to toughen DUI laws

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could soon become a permanent scar on one's record if legislation proposed by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, is approved.

At a news conference in South San Francisco on Dec. 30, Mr. Hill along with San Mateo County District Attorney Jim Fox and law enforcement officials stressed the problem of repeat offenders.

DUI convictions are erased from offender's records after 10 years, according to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Trent Cross. The new legislation would change that law so a DUI conviction would remain on offender's records forever.

The bill would authorize the court to permanently revoke the driver's license of a person previously convicted of three or more DUI offenses.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about one-third of the annual 1.5 million DUI arrests are repeat offenders.

"We see a continuous pattern of people getting multiple DUIs," Sgt. Cross said. "We think it's very important ... that people learn from their mistakes."

In California, he said, one-third of fatal traffic crashes are alcohol-related. Last year, more than 1,000 people were killed by drunken drivers and another 28,000 were injured.

Throughout California, about 154,000 residents have received two DUIs, and more than 34,000 have been convicted three or more times, according to Mr. Hill.

— Bay City News Service


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