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DUI penalties may get tougher

DUI penalties may get tougher

Penalties for repeat DUI offenders may get tougher under Senate Bill 1042, which the Senate Judiciary Committee passed Monday and will move forward for further consideration.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jim Waring, R-Phoenix, would decrease the legal blood-alcohol concentration level for people who have been previously convicted of driving under the influence.

Committee members approved the proposed bill 6-0, with two members absent.

"In this state, we lose about 300 to 400 people a year to DUI," Waring said. "It is frustrating to me that people so cavalierly go out and drink and then get behind the wheel of a car."

Under the current law, if a person's blood-alcohol level is 0.08 or above, they are considered under the influence.

This bill would make it illegal for a person who has been convicted of aggravated DUI or extreme DUI within the past five years to drive with a blood-alcohol concentration level of 0.05 or more.

At least one ASU student agreed with the idea behind the bill. Alejandra Uribe, an anthropology senior, said tougher legislation should be in place for repeat offenders.

"It's not fair that we have to suffer the consequences of someone not being cautious and choosing to drive drunk," she said. "If you're going to drink, you have to be intelligent and not drive."

The Arizona chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving supports the bill because it is about saving lives, said Chuck Heeman, state executive director.

"We are not against people going out and having a good time," Heeman said. "We just want people to get home safely."

Waring patterned this bill after one that was first enacted in 1988 in Maine. The following year, fatalities and injuries in that state fell by 25 percent, Heeman

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