Updates from state Senator David Parker on very important DUI legislation this year. Please read his update below and encourage your legislators to support his efforts.
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary-A Committee approved two DUI reform bills I sponsored which would close loopholes allowing repeat DUI offenders to negotiate punishment and penalties as “first offense” violations.
Our laws currently encourage prosecutors and judges to adjudicate DUI violations as first offense DUIs to prevent the courts from being bogged down by DUI jury trials. As a result, 92 percent of DUI offenses are adjudicated as first offenses, even with violators who have multiple violations. These bills adjust offense categories to overcome that challenge, and require accurate and transparent reporting of DUI convictions. We must be serious about DUI violations and close the loopholes that allow repeat offenders to continue their dangerous and life threatening behavior while only facing the punishment of someone who does it once.
SB2778 – DUI Transparency Act
• Adjusts offense categories
o Lower 2nd offense penalty below jury trial threshold to remove motivation of judges and prosecutors to reduce charges to 1st offense
o 3rd offense penalty automatically a felony
o Creates new 4th offense category
• Mississippi Alcohol Safety Program mandatory after 1st offense
• CDL separated from non-commercial to close loophole by downgrading license to avoid prosecution
• Creates random drug testing as interlock substitute for DUI narcotic violators
• Creates $100 civil penalty for court clerks who fail to report DUI convictions
SB2777 – DUI Modernization and Technology Act
• Creates advisory committee to monitor reporting of 1st offense DUIs
• Committee to report findings by end of the year to measure impact of SB2777 & SB2778
• Mississippi Justice Information Center will standardize reporting of DUI offenders and repeat offenders
• DUI convictions to be reported within 5 days
• Streamlines DUI records for courts and prosecutors
• Requires NCIC database entry to identify offenses for and from other states