Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tougher California DUI laws?

California dui attorney news

State Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Long Beach, today introduced legislation to strengthen California´s DUI / drunk-driving law.

As recommended by the National Highway Safety Administration, Oropeza´s bill will amend the law to reduce the threshold for "excessive" DUI drunk driving for first-time offenders from .20 to .15 blood-alcohol content, making it consistent with many other states. At present, the BAC level for standard DUI is .08 percent, with excessive DUI drunk driving set at .20.

"Too many Californians die needlessly every year because of drunk drivers," Oropeza said. "By reducing the blood-alcohol content standard for the worst of DUI offenders this bill could prevent some of these deaths."

At present, California´s excessive DUI drunk driver law calls on judges to consider imposing enhanced sanctions on first-time DUI offenders with a high BAC. This includes requiring offenders to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicles for up to three years. An IID is a cell phone-sized monitor installed on a driver´s car which will not allow the vehicle to start if the driver has been drinking.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, 58 percent of alcohol-related fatalities in vehicles involve drivers with a .15 BAC or greater. A National Conference of State Legislatures report from 2005 indicated that 26 states have a lower BAC threshold for excessive DUI drunk driving than California, included in that figure are 15 states with a BAC of .15.

SB 1190 is currently in Senate Rules Committee awaiting policy committee assignment.