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Longer Sentences for Repeat DUI Offenses Urged

Penalties for drunk driving increase every year. States are quick to pass tougher laws when they determine that it is necessary to make changes. One of the major issues that may face legislators across the country concerns the sentences that are in place for those with multiple DUI convictions.

One example in another state highlights some of the problems that are currently confronting lawmakers. In this situation, a man was convicted of his 16th DUI. He was sentenced to two years in prison, a sentence that many considered too lenient for his offenses.

However, prosecutors were unable to use all of the 16 convictions to enhance the man's current sentence. Laws only allowed prosecutors to use convictions from the last 10 years, which is similar to the law in Pennsylvania.

This particular case has led to criticism of officials for not having strong enough penalties for repeat offenders. When these high profile cases occur, it renews calls for states to examine the laws that they currently have. Many are calling for longer prison times for those with multiple DUI offenses.

Some people feel that excessive drinking and driving convictions are further evidence that the offender is suffering from alcoholism. Putting those people behind bars for an extensive period of time may make the streets temporarily safer, but do nothing to address the underlying issues that these offenders may have. Treatment could help to eliminate future problems from arising, and allow the individual to stop abusing alcohol.

As states struggle with this issue, it bears watching to determine if any change the current laws. If longer prison sentences become the norm, it is more important to fight DUI charges.

Source: Los Angeles Times "2 years for 16th DUI? Prosecutors say they couldn't be tougher" John M. Glionna, August 28, 2012.

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Gregory R. Gifford
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