Tuesday, February 12, 2013
House to debate revision of Mississippi's DUI laws in a minute
*update... This has passed
The next item up on the House calendar is HB 481, which would add a requirement of use of an ignition interlock device by people convicted of DUIs. This is a pretty good bill. In short, it would do away with the "hardship" license and replace it with the imposition of an ignition interlock requirement. Here's how the new license suspensions would work:
DUI 1st offense: 30 day license suspension, followed by conditional license for up to 6 months
DUI 2nd offense: 45 day license suspension, followed by conditional license for 1-2 years
DUI 3rd offense: 45 day license suspension, followed by conditional license for 3-5 years
The other penalties (incarceration, fines, etc.) are not changed by the bill.
Here's why it's a good bill. Currently, someone convicted of a first DUI can petition the circuit court for a hardship license after completing the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Education Program and the expiration of 30 days from conviction. That always takes more than 30 days, and leaves the person convicted without transportation until the order is signed. It also lets someone who has evidenced a drinking problem behind the wheel without any supervision whatsoever.
Worse, someone who gets a second DUI winds up with a license suspension for a year, with no hardship potential whatsoever. How are they supposed to drive to work?
And even worse than that, a person convicted of a third DUI has his license suspended for 5 years. How is that person to put his life back together on a suspended license?