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Four-Time DUI Offender Bill Draws Support, Criticism

Updated: Friday, May 16 2014, 10:09 AM CDT

Four times and you're off the road for good. That's currently the law in Illinois for repeat drunk driving offenders.


But a proposed law would give those offenders another chance. A fifth chance.


The new bill was unanimously approved in a House committee
Wednesday and backed by the director of the Alliance Against Intoxicated
Motorists.


But not everyone is in favor of the bill.


"How do you tell a family that someone who killed their loved on
is going to be out driving on the road again?," M.A.D.D. Victim Service
Specialist Kristi Hoesy said. "M.A.D.D. is in the business of saving
lives and keeping drunk drivers off the road. In our eyes one DUI is a
DUI too many."


State Representative Elaine Nekritz wants the law change. She
says repeat offenders end up driving illegally anyway and this
legislation would help regulate them.


It would also, she says, help people like recovering alcoholic
and four-time DUI offender Michael Geever teach Alcoholics Anonymous
classes and lead people back to sobriety.


"It's those kinds of stories that we've heard from frankly all
over the state that are prompting this, to move this bill forward,"
Nekritz said.


The bill doesn't just forgive four-time drunk driving offenders
by giving them their license back. Repeat offenders have go through an
AA program and prove that they have been sober for at least three years.
Even then, they only get a restricted driving permit, which limits the
time of day they can drive and the places they can go.


"And then I think the big thing is that you have to use a
breathalyzer for the rest of your life and pay for it yourself," Nekritz
said.


But M.A.D.D. says what about what families of victims of drunk
drivers have had to pay? They say there's no way this bill should go
through.


"Look at our victim families. How do they feel knowing that
people are going to get their license back after four times? Four
times!," Hoesy said.


The Secretary of State's Office says in 2012 more than 350 people
in Illinois were arrested for at least their fourth DUI. That means if
this legislation goes through hundreds of repeat offenders could be back
on the road.


The bill still needs to pass the full house and the full senate
and that has to happen in the next few weeks before the legislative
session is over.

Four-Time DUI Offender Bill Draws Support, Criticism


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