STATE HOUSE – Sen. Leonidas P. Raptakis (D-Dist. 33, Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) has reintroduced several bills to stiffen penalties for repeat offenders of driving while under the influence infractions.
“Drunk drivers, especially repeat offenders and especially those whose irresponsible actions cause harm to others, should not be on the road, period,” said Senator Raptakis.
Raptakis pointed to the recent local story of a Warwick man who was arrested twice for driving under the influence in an 18-hour span on Valentine’s Day. The senator has introduced the bills several times in the past, according to the Legislative Press and Public Information Bureau.
Raptakis says Rhode Island can no longer afford to wait to pass these important public safety bills.
” “I don’t care how remorseful they seem when they appear before a judge. The punishment for this type of reckless disregard for the welfare of others needs to be much tougher. Until it is, drunks are going keep getting behind the wheel and the mayhem on our roads will continue,” Raptakis said.
The first bill (2020-S 2259) sponsored by Raptakis would increase the penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence resulting in death and driving under the influence resulting in serious bodily injury.
The second piece of legislation (2020-S 2282) would increase from 5 years to 10 years the period in which prior DUI convictions qualify a person for increased penalties for subsequent convictions.
The last bill (2020-S 2286) would require the license plates of a vehicle to be confiscated if the owner is arrested for driving while the license was suspended, revoked or canceled for a number of offenses, including driving under the influence and refusing to submit to a breath test.
“From my point of view, we have done enough study. We’ve heard these bills year after year while people have continued to get hurt and killed on our roads, and the courts have allowed drunks to get back behind the wheel,” said Senator Raptakis. “We know people drive drunk, we know they continue to drive drunk after being convicted and their license has been suspended or revoked, we know they cause damage and death. We need to act and we need to get tough.”
All of the bills have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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