PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Rhode Island senator is renewing his push to strengthen penalties for repeat offenders of the state’s current DUI laws.
This comes two days after a Warwick man was arrested and charged with driving drunk twice within an 18-hour span. Police said his blood-alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.
Sen. Lou Raptakis has introduced the legislative package several times in the past and says the state “can no longer afford to wait to pass these important public safety bills.”
“I don’t care how remorseful they seem when they appear before a judge,” Raptakis said. “The punishment for this type of reckless disregard for the welfare of others needs to be much tougher. Until it is, drunks are going keep getting behind the wheel and the mayhem on our roads will continue.”
Raptakis said the first bill would increase the penalties for those convicted of driving under the influence resulting in death or serious bodily injury.
The second would increase the period in which someone would be considered a repeat offender, according to Raptakis. That time period would change from five to 10 years, meaning anyone who has been convicted multiple times within a 10-year span would qualify for increased penalties as a repeat offender.
The last bill would require license plates to be confiscated if the owner is arrested for driving while the license was suspended, revoked or canceled for a number of offenses, including driving under the influence and refusing to submit to a breath test.
“We know people drive drunk, we know they continue to drive drunk after being convicted and their license has been suspended or revoked, we know they cause damage and death,” Raptakis added. “We need to act and we need to get tough.”
All three bills have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration.