Representative Harmon Files Legislation to Strengthen DUI Penalties
Frankfort, Ky., - As the number of alcohol related accidents across Kentucky steadily rises, State Representative Mike Harmon (R- Danville) has prefiled legislation to curtail this incidence by increasing the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) repeat offenders.
Bill Request 33 would institute swifter punishment for subsequent DUI violations through a three-tier set of penalties, a reduction from the current four-tier system. Additionally, the five-year “look-back” window to monitor prior offenses would be expanded to ten years and the forfeiture of an individual’s vehicle would be permitted if their license had been previously suspended.
“All too often, DUI offenders are released with little more than a slap on the hand,” said Representative Harmon. “Unless we enact stringent laws punishing this behavior, violators are more likely to drive under the influence again, with the activity becoming a vicious and dangerous cycle.”
On October 2, 2004, the occurrence of this cycle claimed the life of Branson Taylor Warner-Cummins, grandson of Mercer County citizen David Warner. The Warners’ vehicle was struck by a drunk driver whose blood alcohol content was twice the legal limit and driving on a suspended license due to a prior dui conviction. The loss of his grandson moved Mr. Warner to become involved in advocating for stronger DUI penalties.
“After looking at the laws as they pertain to driving under the influence, I felt they were in need of revision. Knowing that I could not change the entire system, I chose to focus on the laws that would have a positive impact and, hopefully, prevent another innocent death. I want to thank Representative Harmon for sponsoring this legislation on behalf of all DUI victims’ families,” stated Mr. Warner.
Representative Harmon added, “Unfortunately, Mr. Warner’s story is one we hear on a regular basis. While there is not a law or punishment that can erase the grief from the loss of family member, I do believe the provisions in this legislation will aid to stop this cycle, curtail the number of repeat offenders, and improve the safety for those who travel our roads and highways.”
To view Bill Request 33, you may visit the LRC’s homepage at www.lrc.ky.gov and select “2011 Prefiled Legislation.”