DUI Changes for 2010

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Several states are making changes to existing laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and others are adding new laws concerning this area. Others are modifying laws that relate to DUI's cousin, DWI, driving while intoxicated. Here is a brief rundown of states making changes:

California

It should not come as a surprise that a state with a high DUI arrest rate is making changes to DUI laws in the punishment area. With the changes, which took effect in July of this year, all DUI convictions will result in the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device, or IID. Whereas it used to be just one of several possibilities, it is now a mandatory part of sentencing, even for first time offenders.

On the other hand, other new legislation shortens the penalty phase for loss of driving restrictions for those convicted of DUI. This change, which also took effect July 2010, reduces the total length of time that a person's privileges are restricted by a significant amount, even for repeat offenses. There are still conditions that have to be met prior to reinstating driving privileges, such as a fee and requirement of SR-22 insurance, but once these have been met, the person may be eligible for privileges much sooner.

Florida

Florida is another state that has reduced the harsh penalty for DUI, by allowing four-time offenders to reinstate driving privileges if a strict group of conditions are met. These include a 10-year waiting period, with restricted privileges for the first year of reinstatement, no driving at all for those ten years, and manslaughter cannot have been part of the charge. In addition, the person has six months from the time the license is reinstated to take an alcohol education course that is approved by the state.

Colorado

Another example of a state reducing the minimum penalty for most offenders, Colorado instituted modifications to state law that replace the minimum amount of time that any offender is forced to stay in jail for DUI conviction. However, these changes also eliminated the ankle bracelet option for serving mandatory jail time, and now convicted individuals are only given two options: serve the time as stated, or apply for a work release program.

Kansas

Kansas is one of a few states that have increased the penalty for those with repeat DUI offenses. The modifications stipulate that offenders cannot apply for a work release program until they have served at least 72 consecutive hours of the mandatory jail time, and the minimum fine was raised from $1500 to $2500 for repeat offenders. The same law changes revocation of license to the third conviction, instead of fourth, as well. This law took effect in July 2010.

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