2012 Brings New DUI Law into Effect

California legislators are trying to remove drivers, who are repeat offenders of DUIs, off the road. Under a new law, AB 1601, which will take effect on January 1, 2012, will allow a judge to suspend a driver's license for 10 years following a third DUI conviction. Under California's current law the suspension of a driver's license can only be authorized by the Department of Motor Vehicles and it caps off at three years for a third DUI conviction.

However, AB 1601 had been diluted before it got to the floor. Originally, the bill allowed for permanent license revocation, and it also allowed judges to consider a driver's entire driving record when deciding on the sentence. Unfortunately, judges can only consider the convictions during the most recent 10 years under the existing law. This limit will be retained under amendments to the bill, which was sponsored by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that more than 310,000 California residents had at least three DUI convictions as of 2008 and in that same year more than 1,000 people were killed in California and another 28,000 were injured as a result of drunken driving.

This holiday season, please be responsible when drinking and use a designated driver or call a taxi cab.

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