California lawmaker wants to revoke some DUI offenders’ licenses

| Monday, January 04, 2010

There are differing opinions about how to make roadways safer. However, there is little debate about the consequences of drunken driving on the nation’s transportation arteries.

A California state lawmaker has a proposal that is intended to reduce the occurrences of driving under the influence. Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, wants to keep the worst of the worst offenders of the state’s drunken driving law off the road for good.

Existing law takes into account DUI convictions from the past decade when determining license suspensions. Licenses are only revoked for injuring or killing someone.

According to figures from Hill’s office, more than 34,000 people statewide have at least three DUI convictions.

Hill wants to implement a three-strikes rule. It would give judges the discretion to revoke someone’s license permanently after a third DUI conviction. He also wants to remove a provision from California law that allows convictions to be erased from offenders driving records after 10 years.

Hill cites two individuals with nine DUIs each. Because their convictions were spread out more than 10 years they were allowed to regain their licenses. For one of the men who got his eighth DUI, it was treated as his third. That driver got his license back and was arrested shortly thereafter for driving drunk.

“Lawmakers need to protect innocent bystanders from individuals with multiple DUI convictions who are likely to re-offend,” Hill said in a statement.

Critics of the bill say it would result in more unlicensed drivers and uninsured wrecks.

Hill’s effort can be considered during the regular session that opened Monday, Jan. 4.

To view other legislative activities of interest for California, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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