E-mail Story   Print Story
  Comments (0) Total Thursday Apr. 24, 2014
House Backs Bill to Toughen Laws for Repeat DUI
Repeat DUI
HELENA – A proposal to toughen the penalties against repeat drunk drivers was endorsed by the House Monday, one of a number of measures attempting to crack down on high drunk-driving rates in Montana.

House Bill 14 carried by Democratic Rep. Mike Menahan would let courts look back to impaired driving offenses up to 10 years old when someone is being punished for a drunk-driving charge, a change from the current five-year cutoff.

The measure, which was backed by the House on an 88-12 vote, allows courts to hit more offenders with tougher second-offense penalties, such as suspending offenders' licenses.

One of the opponents was a bar owner who argued the bill is bad for business.

"These DUI bills are destroying small businesses," said Republican Rep. Alan Hale from Basin.

Many lawmakers say Montana's current penalties for drunk drivers are too lenient, allowing impaired drivers to tally repeat offences and stay on the road.

"It's dead wrong that we are allowing this tragedy to go on and on," said Republican House Majority Leader Tom McGilvray of Billings

Democratic Rep. Robert Mehlhoff from Great Falls agreed with McGilvray's sentiment and added that he thought it was important to toughen laws on drunk drivers without extending jail sentences which Mehlhoff said aren't as effective as alternative punishments.

"I would hope we start to look more and more at how we accomplish the end of drunk driving on our roads without long jail sentences," Mehlhoff said.

The proposal is one of several before lawmakers this session to stiffen drunk driving regulations.

Menahan, a county attorney, is carrying a number of those drunk driving measures. On Saturday his bills to increase penalties for drunk driving and help rehabilitate offenders cleared the Senate after already clearing the House.

Other bills still before the Legislature stiffen drunk driving laws by increasing penalties for repeat offenders and setting up a round-the-clock sobriety system.
No comments have been posted for this article.

  • Attorney General Turns Over Fracking Letter Info
    jr2jr2000 said: "Maybe Fox and Bullock should just do like Obama and Eric Holder do.  Refuse to turn over any pertinent records, or black out most of…
  • The Firm
    Gene Dziza said: "What a nice tribute to a good group of men. It’s a great thing to look back at a career and realize your life’s work…
  • Lifelong Adventurer Eyes Whitefish for New Mountain Academy
    gretchen bugden said: "I enjoyed reading your April 23rd 2014 article about Billy O’Donnell and his plans for a new Academy in Whitefish . I sent him an…
  • Tourist Season Is Coming. Are You Ready?
    Looney_Tunes said: "Businesses just opt out of this latest internet scam by ignoring it.  I have a friend who started a dog grooming business that was marred…
  • Montana Leaders Condemn Keystone Delay
    RussCrowder said: "“And environmentalists keep putting the environment in risky situation….”.  I guess this whole issue really has nothing to do with the environment, does it BillC? …
Kellyn Brown
Kellyn Brown1h
Former pro skier has plans for an academy for young adults looking to train in the outdoors http://t.co/YFOI9pdVVf http://t.co/R8NCamjqUD
Dillon Tabish
Dillon Tabish1h
Former pro skier has plans for an academy for young adults looking to train in the outdoors http://t.co/YFOI9pdVVf http://t.co/R8NCamjqUD
Molly Priddy
Molly Priddy17h
MT Gov. Steve Bullock sends letter to Parole Board, largely supportive of Barry Beach's petition for commutation of sentence. #mtpol
Tristan Scott
Tristan Scott22h
Meet the law firm behind W.R. Grace and scores of other notable Montana cases. http://t.co/PXTGJGoYdH
Flathead Beacon
FB Headlines23m
Republican Activists Push Party on Gay Marriage http://t.co/14uCLCWhKy