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DUI Laws and Increasing Penalties


It is not often that you hear a politician speak out against DUI laws, but that is exactly what happened in Montana last month. Rep. Alan Hale, a Republican, spoke out against proposed tougher penalties in his State, saying that they are “destroying a way of life” for Montana residents.

Specifically, the Representative was talking about the proposal in Montana to change the period that a DUI conviction remained on the record as a prior from five years to ten years, so that second offenders faced stiffer penalties for a second DUI offense within ten years.

In California, it has been the law for some time that if a person commits a DUI within ten years of the commission of a prior DUI or Wet Reckless, that person faces second offender penalties including mandatory jail time, a two year license suspension and an 18 month alcohol education program. Rep. Hale stated that stiffer DUI penalties were destroying local businesses and a local way of life that involved going to local bars as community meeting places.

In such a rural area, the Representative commented, the only way to get to the local bar was to drive. His comments drew the wrath of MADD President, Laura Dean-Mooney, who stated that the comments insulted those who have lost loved ones to drunk drivers.