Repeat offenders' rules approved in Maine

| 6/5/2006

Gov. John Baldacci has signed a bill into law intended to help rid roads in Maine of drivers who have lost their driving privileges.

Dubbed “Tina’s Law,” it focuses on drivers with the worst motor vehicle records who continue to get behind the wheel. The bill is named for Tina Turcotte of Scarborough, ME. The 40-year-old was killed on July 29, 2005, in a wreck involving trucker Scott Hewitt.

Hewitt has 63 driving convictions and 23 license suspensions in Maine and other states, The Associated Press reported. He also was involved in a 1994 fatality.

Hewitt’s Maine license and registration were both under suspension at the time of the wreck, and there were outstanding warrants for his arrest, the newspaper reported.

The new law, previously LD1906, redefines which drivers are covered by mandatory minimum sentences, creates the crime of aggravated operating after habitual offender revocation, and imposes new penalties.

Habitual offenders who drive drunk, drive to endanger or commit other serious offenses after having their licenses revoked or suspended, will face fines ranging from $500 to $3,000 and six months to five years in incarceration.

Drivers with three or more major motor vehicle violations in five years, or at least 10 violations in five years, will face a minimum $500 fine and 30 days behind bars.

Drivers who cause a wreck which injures another person can be sentenced to up to five years in prison and pay up to $5,000 in fines, The AP reported. If a fatality wreck is caused, the driver can face up to 10 years in prison and as much as $20,000 in fines.

The new penalties will take effect in late August.