Bill Aimed at Harsher Penalties for Repeat DUI Offenders Struck Down in Committee

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Graphic by Office of Assemblymember Flora

On Tuesday, the California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety struck down a bill that would have repeat DUI offenders facing harsher penalties which included felony charges and longer vehicle impoundment.

AB 401 was introduced on February 6 by Assemblymember Heath Flora would change state law:

Existing Law:

Under existing law, if a person is convicted of driving under the influence and the offense occurred within 10 years after 3 or more other violations for driving under the influence that resulted in specified convictions, that person has committed an offense punishable as either a misdemeanor or a felony, and the person shall have their privilege to drive revoked.

Under existing law, if a person is convicted of driving under the influence and the offense occurred within 10 years after a specified conviction of driving under the influence that is charged as a felony, that person has committed an offense punishable as either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Existing law requires a court, upon convicting a person for a specified offense of driving under the influence that occurred within 5 years after a previous conviction or convictions, as specified, to order that person’s vehicle to be impounded for a specified period of time.

Existing law authorizes a court, after certain repeated convictions relating to driving under the influence, to declare the person’s vehicle a nusisance nuisance and have it seized, as specified.

Proposed Law:

This bill would additionally make a conviction for driving under the influence that occurs within 10 years after 4 or more previous specified convictions, a felony.

This bill would instead make such a conviction punishable only as a felony.

This bill would instead require this impoundment of the defendant’s vehicle for a specified offense that occurs within 10 years after a previous conviction or convictions. The bill would also increase the duration of the vehicle impoundment.

This bill would instead require the court, after certain repeated convictions relating to driving under the influence, to declare the person’s vehicle a nusisance nuisance and have it seized, as specified. The bill would also expand the circumstances under which seizure as a nuisance would be required.

 

Flora stated Tuesday that “unfortunately, AB 401 was struck down in Public Safety Committee because politicians in California think DUI penalties are already too harsh…Public safety or offender safety. You decide.”

Assemblyman Tom Lackey took to Twitter saying

– Apparently the California State Assembly Public Safety Commitee believes because alcoholism is an addiction, a FIVE time CONVICTED DUI driver deserves DISCRETION and UNDERSTANDING instead of a Felony charge! Public Safety or Offender safety. You decide!!!

How they voted:

Date Result Location Ayes Noes NVR Motion
03/12/19 (FAIL) Asm Public Safety 2 5 1 Do pass and be re-referred to the Committee on [Appropriations]
Ayes: Diep, Lackey
Noes: Jones-Sawyer, Kamlager-Dove, Quirk, Santiago, Wicks
No Votes Recorded: Bauer-Kahan

2 COMMENTS

  1. Alcoholism is an addiction that can be OVERCOME. Get the drunks off the road, and harsher penalties should apply until they decide to quit drinking and driving. If you must get drunk – stay home.

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