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RIAG Bills for Stricter Drunk Driving Penalties before Senate Judiciary Today

The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.
The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.
The Rhode Island State House is located at 82 Smith St. Providence.

Providence, R.I. — Today, the RI Senate Judiciary Committee will consider two bills authored by RI Attorney General Peter Kilmartin doubling penalties for killing or injuring while driving drunk from  and extending the “look back” period on repeat alcohol-related offenses from five years to 10 years.

“As soon as someone drinks then gets behind the wheel of a car, they have already demonstrated a reckless disregard for the law — and for life,” said Rep. Raymond

(D—Dist. 61, Pawtucket), who is sponsoring H7461 on Kilmartin’s behalf.

“When that choice leads to somebody’s death, it’s no different than firing a gun into a crowd of people. Increasing the penalties for this heinous crime so it more accurately reflects the horror of the act is the right thing to do.”

Under the legislation, a conviction under DUI death resulting would increase from a maximum imprisonment of 15 years to a maximum imprisonment of 30 years, a maximum fine of $20,000, and license revocation for up to 10 years, according to a release from Kilmartin’s office.

A conviction of DUI resulting in serious bodily injury would increase from a maximum penalty of 10 years to a maximum imprisonment of 20 years, a fine up to $10,000, and license revocation for up to five years.

The legislation would also 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 would face increased penalties from up to five years to up to 10 years.

The bill extending the “looking back” period for drunk driving offenses, H7457,  is sponsored by Representative Gregg Amore (D., District 65 – East Providence) on Kilmartin’s behalf. The bill would increase the “look back” period on third and subsequent alcohol-related offenses from five to 10 years.

“Serial drunk drivers are currently gaming the legal system due to our lax “look-back” laws and this situation needs to be rectified immediately so that those who continuously drink and drive are held fully responsible for their dangerous, selfish and habitual behavior,” said Amore.

The 10 year “look back” period is supported by the National Highway Safety Administration, the Rhode Island Police Chiefs’ Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Hardcore Drunk Driver Project.

Sen. Susan V. Susan Sosnowski (D, District 37 – New Shoreham, South Kingstown) has sponsored companion bills in the Senate.

Sen. Michael J. McCaffrey (D-Dist. 29, Warwick) is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of WarwickPost.com. Contact him at editor@warwickpost.com with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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