Tougher Florida DUI Bill

Some state lawmakers say it’s time to lock up repeat drunk drivers and drunk boaters.

Members of a House committee considered a bill Wednesday that would toughen the sentences for people convicted of a fourth drunk driving or drunk boating offense.

The bill would require at least a year behind bars and a year of substance abuse treatment.

Robert Trammel with the Florida Public Defenders Association objected to the bill. He says it would take away judges’ ability to weigh other factors in their sentencing.

“I think that it’s a fair statement that the public defenders oppose minimum mandatories, because it takes from the court the discretion to consider the big picture, and in effect it has the Legislature doing the sentencing.”

But bill sponsor Gayle Harrell says multiple offenders have been getting off too easy for too long.

“I think this bill is about saving lives. It’s about keeping drunk drivers off the road. By the fourth time, you know, I’ve pretty well lost patience with you.”

The bill (HB97) passed its committee 6-0, but still has a couple more to clear before it will be considered by the full House.


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