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Orr to introduce bill to curtail drunk driving offenders

State Sen. Arthur Orr (CONTRIBUTED)
State Sen. Arthur Orr (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – State Sen. Arthur Orr is introducing a bill to allow judges more latitude in repeat-offender DUI cases.

“We had 250 DUI deaths in Alabama last year. That number does not included people who were maimed or seriously injured,” Orr said. “That’s too high of a number.”

In its first component, Orr’s bill would allow judges to review comparable DUI convictions from other states. He used the example of a Tennessee resident with a DUI record who is arrested for DUI in Huntsville. The Alabama court cannot consider the DUIs from Tennessee.

“That doesn’t make a lot of sense. If a person gets intoxicated and drives, the person shouldn’t ‘hide’ behind state lines,” Orr said.

In addition, the bill would eliminate the “five-year look-back period.” Under Alabama law, judges cannot consider DUI convictions older than five years. “If someone has a problem and evidently didn’t learn their lesson, why can’t the judge look at this?” Orr said.

Another component of Orr’s bill would stiffen the penalty for individuals driving with a revoked license. Law enforcement officers often issue numerous tickets for that infraction. Individuals who receive numerous citations for ‘revoked’ driving would be jailed, up to 30 days.

“The state is serious. We’re not just going to slap you on the wrists,” Orr said.

Currently, Alabama does not have a standard for consumption of illegal substances. The bill would specify measurements of illegal drugs when “the person will be presumed impaired to operate a motor vehicle,” Orr said.

This measurement standard is comparable to alcohol levels that a breathalyzer measures. “The bill puts numbers for the standard in the code,” he said.

To prepare the bill, Orr received input from numerous city prosecutors, district attorneys, judges and other sources.

Orr believes the legislature will pass the bill, “but nothing is easy in Montgomery. Everything is a deliberate process,” he said.

Orr supports “anything to get drunk drivers off the road. They’re risking the lives of others.”

For more information, visit arthurorr.com/Huntsville.

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