Sunday, November 11, 2001

Laws get tougher on drunken drivers

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Ohio and Kentucky laws have been strengthened over the past two years to crack down on repeat drunken drivers.


               A state law that took effect in May 2000 increased jail time from 18 months to 30 months for offenders convicted of their fourth DUI in six years.

        Previously, 18 months in jail was the maximum sentence no matter how many times a drunken driver was convicted. License suspensions are mandatory at every level.

        A fourth DUI conviction in six years is a felony. The first three are misdemeanors, requiring offenders to spend three to 60 days in jail.

        Anyone convicted of a second felony DUI now must go to prison for up to five years, the most prison time that any drunken driver can serve.

        Ohio has resisted a federal mandate to lower the blood-alcohol content standard from 0.10 to 0.08. That's the level of intoxication on which convictions are based.

               A fourth DUI conviction within five years carries an automatic 120-day jail term without probation, under changes in law that took effect in October 2000.

        Judges now have the option of seizing license plates of repeat offenders or having ignition-locking devices put in their vehicles in an effort to keep them off the road.

        The blood-alcohol content standard is 0.08.

        Efforts to revise Kentucky's DUI law were spawned, in part, by the nation's deadliest drunken-driving accident. In May 1988, Larry Mahoney's vehicle slammed into a church bus near Carrollton, killing 27 people returning from Kings Island.

               Repeat drunk drivers can spend a year in jail.

        The blood-alcohol content standard is 0.08.


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