On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard two bills related to DWI offenses. The first bill is the result of the DWI task force and aims to bring the criminal code more in line with administrative sanctions (i.e. license revocation, plate impoundment, etc.). Currently, harsher penalties result from a blood alcohol concentration of over .20 in the criminal code, though administrative penalties begin at .16 percent. Senate File 1073 would amend the criminal code to enhance penalties at .16 percent of blood alcohol concentration. The bill also makes several other changes in regard to plate impoundment, license revocation, and ignition interlock program participants.
The second bill, Senate File 1548, is supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and makes several changes in regards to DWI offenses including requiring participation in the ignition interlock program if the BAC of the offender is double the legal limit, or if the person in a repeat offender. Second, it makes those who are convicted of alcohol related criminal vehicular homicide ineligible for a limited license but eligible for the ignition interlock program, and increases penalties for tampering with an ignition interlock device. Supporters of these bills say ignition interlock devices are a meaningful alternative to license suspension, as it forces sober and safe driving. Both bills were laid over for possible inclusion in the omnibus bill. (S.F. 1073 / S.F. 1548)