Tougher DUI Law Proposed
By Jenifer Jones
The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill that supporters say closes a loophole in the state's DUI law. Mike Houdyshell is with the Department of Public Safety. He says in order for a person to be charged with a fourth offense DUI in South Dakota, an individual has to previously have been convicted of a felony. That's usually not a problem because a 3rd offense DUI is a class six felony. But in North Dakota and some other states, a 3rd offense is a misdemeanor, meaning someone who's been charged with 3 DUI's in that state, and receives their fourth conviction here wouldn't be charged with a 4th offense, but rather another third. Houdyshell says Senate Bill 20 remedies that.
"If this change isn't made, certain individuals will continue to face a lesser penalty for multiple DUI offenses, simply because their third or fourth DUI conviction occurred in a state outside South Dakota that does not deem these offenses to be felonies," Houdyshell says. "This creates an inequitable situation and is likely an unintended consequence of the current statutory language."
If this bill becomes law, a fourth offense DUI will count as a fourth offense regardless of where the previous offences occurred. The bill now goes to the Senate floor.
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