Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is renewing a push for tougher penalties that he calls a better deterrent for the harm caused by drunk drivers. According to AG Kilmartin, "Choosing to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired on drugs is like playing with a loaded firearm - it's dangerous and often deadly."
The two specific proposals touted by AG Kilmartin include doubling the penalties for DUI death resulting or serious bodily injury and doubling the so-called "look-back" for alcohol-related offenses.
PENALTIES FOR DUI DEATH RESULTING OR DUI RESULTING IN SERIOUS BODILY INJURY
Currently, Rhode Island Law provides for a maximum jail sentence of fifteen (15) years if convicted of Driving Under the Influence of Liquor or Drugs, Resulting in Death. Additionally, anyone convicted would be subject to a fine of $5,000 to $10,000 and a license revocation for five (5) years. See R.I.G.L.Section 31-27-2.2
Under Attorney General Kilmartin's proposal, the maximum jail sentence for Driving Under the Influence of Liquor or Drugs, Resulting in Death would be increased from fifteen (15) years to thirty (30) years.
LOOK-BACK PERIOD FOR PRIOR ALCOHOL RELATED CONVICTIONS
In addition to the proposal detailed above, Attorney General Kilmartin is pushing to have the so-called "look-back" period for prior alcohol related convictions doubled. Currently, Rhode Island Law provides for a five (5) year look-back for prior alcohol related convictions. This means that an individual previously charged and convicted for driving under the influence or refusing to submit to a chemical test in the five years prior would face enhanced penalties in the form of either a second offense DUI charge or a second offense refusal to submit to a chemical test charge. The second offense DUI charge carries a mandatory jail sentence while the second offense refusal to submit to a chemical test charge is a criminal offense prosecuted in the District Court (unlike a first offense chemical test refusal charge, which is a traffic violation prosecuted in the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal).
Under Attorney General Kilmartin's proposal, the "look-back" period for DUI's and chemical test refusal's would be increased from five (5) years to ten (10) years. This would significantly stiffen the penalties for repeat offenders and increase the likelihood that many DUI offenders would face mandatory jail sentences, if convicted.
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