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DUI bill calls for clean record after 5 years


Posted on Jan 30, 2012

ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -
One state lawmaker from Georgia has proposed that people convicted of driving under the influence have a chance to wipe their record clean. 
State Representative Culver "Rusty" Kidd, (I-Milledgeville) said Thursday not all DUI cases are the result of habitual behavior.
Representative Kidd said the current Georgia law doesn't take into consideration the circumstances surrounding each DUI arrest. 
But officials with Mothers Against Drunk Drivers said this is not the time to soften DUI laws, given the tragedies they've witnessed.
"I don't condone it a bit and if they break the law, they need to be punished," Rep. Kidd.
Kidd said it's time to revisit state laws where DUIs are concerned.  Kidd says current laws punish people who've made one mistake for life - and that's why he filled House bill 799
"Years ago, judges had the leeway to look at every individual case.  Now legislators pass laws not giving judges leeway," said Kidd.
Georgia M.A.D.D Executive Director Barry Martin points to Wednesday's fatality where an Atlanta police officer was killed by an accused drunk driver as a good reason to leave state laws as they are.
"A drunk driver will drive up to 85 times before they are caught.  So what this bill says is we will leave it up to the offender not to get caught for five years.  They're not doing anything to verify that they aren't driving drunk.  They're just saying don't get caught," said Martin
Representative Alisha Morgan (D-Austell) understands M.A.D.D's concerns but says every DUI isn't the same.
"It's a heart wrenching situation and we have to sympathize with families but at the same time when a individual has made a bad decision on one particular day, I don't think we want to criminalize them from the rest of their lives," said Rep. Morgan.
At the same time Morgan says there are certain DUIs that shouldn't apply.
"Individuals that continue to drive under the influence continue to put people in danger.  Those are the type of people that we aren't trying to help or restore," said Morgan.

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Shane Smith
Advocate for the Seriously Injured in Georgia