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New Law Allows DUI Offenders To Keep Their License

Reported: Jun. 3, 2014 6:32 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 3, 2014 6:38 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Chris Williams) -- Right now if someone is convicted of a DUI, they lose their license for a period of time, depending on how many DUIs they have. With this new law, a person convicted of DUI can keep their license, and have an interlock system put in their car, but there is a catch.

Police officers work hard to keep drunk drivers off the road, but they can't be everywhere at once.

"On any given month it's between 6 to 10 DUI arrests, or DUI related arrests per month," said Putnam County Sheriff Steve Deweese.

Instead of just taking a license away, the West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles has a new plan. If a person is charged with a DUI, and they forgo a court hearing, they can have an interlock system put in their car immediately instead of losing their license for one or two years.

"We would much rather get these offenders in the system as early as possible because one of the prerequisites for interlock participation, to be able to have the driving privileges, is also to participation in the safety and treatment program," says West Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Commissioner Steve Dale.

When an interlock system is installed in your car, you have to blow into this device before your car will start. If it detects a blood alcohol level above .024 the car will not start.

"It's the offender themselves that actually pays for the installation process of the machine, and a monthly fee for the machine," Dale added.

Dale said by just taking someone's license away, they can still drive with no real restrictions. He said this system will keep you safer because people convicted of DUI will have a system in their car that will not allow them to drink and drive. Putnam County Sheriff Steve Deweese said only time will tell how this new program works, but he does like the idea.

Deweese
"If someone goes out and drinks two or three beers this evening during dinner, and they have the interlock system, and they go back to that car that they own and operate, then they have to blow into that device, and any detectable alcohol then the car won't start," Deweese added.



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