A number of legislative initiatives aimed at strengthening the state's DUI laws and improve highway safety, introduced on behalf of Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin, will be heard before the House Judiciary committee this Tuesday, February 4, 2014.
"Every individual who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while intoxicated is risking their own life and the life of others on the roads. We need to increase penalties for those who flagrantly violate the law, especially repeat offenders," said Attorney General Kilmartin.
Extending the "Look Back" Period to 10 Years H7147, introduced by Representative Donna Walsh, would increase the "look back" period on repeat alcohol-related offenses to ten years. Currently it is only five years.
According to the Century Council's Hardcore Drunk Driving Sourcebook, a majority of jurisdictions have a "look back" period of 10 years. In fact, Rhode Island is the only New England state with a "look back" period of less than 10 years.
The 10 year "look back" period is supported by the National Highway Safety Administration, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Hardcore Drunk Driver Project.
Driving Injury Offenses H7148, introduced by Representative Donna Walsh, amends §31-27-1 and §31-27-1.1 to increase the imprisonment sanctions for driving to endanger resulting in death from up to 10 years to up to 20 years, and those in violation of driving as to endanger serious bodily injury from up to five years to up to 10 years.
The legislation would also increase the penalty range for DUI death resulting or serious bodily injury. A conviction under DUI, resulting in death would now be subject to imprisonment for five to 30 years, a fine of $5,000 to $20,000, and license revocation for five to 10 years. A conviction under DUI, resulting in serious bodily injury would now be subject to imprisonment for up to 20 years, a fine of $1,000 to $10,000, and license revocation for three to five years.
The legislation also creates the criminal offense of driving under the influence resulting in injury. This act would address the situation where injury results from driving under the influence, but does not meet the standard of "serious bodily injury." Those in violation would be guilty of a felony and subject to imprisonment for not more than three years and have his or her license to operate a motor vehicle suspended for not more than one year.