Jail time proposed for some drivers with revoked licenses - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Jail time proposed for some drivers with revoked licenses

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

A move to strengthen penalties for driving under the influence gets the ok from the Senate Judiciary Committee.  And the bill also seeks to address a problem first exposed on WSFA 12 News last year:  people continuing to drive on Alabama's roadways with suspended or revoked licenses.

Our "Lawbreakers on the Road" investigation found that there are an untold number of drivers behind the wheel while their license have been either suspended or revoked.  There's no provision in state law that requires repeat offenders to face jail time.  Now, one state lawmaker is trying to change that after listening to the concerns of law enforcement.

'Time and time and time again, we revoke, and they just drive again," said Sen. Arthur Orr, (R)-Decatur. 

Orr has introduced a bill that would put those some of those drivers in jail, if they are caught three times driving while their license is suspended or revoked because of a DUI charge.

"We're serious, you don't just get a slap on the wrist," Orr said.  "You get six of them, and we keep slapping you on the wrist."

In November, we spoke with Virginia Saunders.  She was involved in an accident with a driver she says had his license revoked because of a DUI conviction.

"Everybody needs to step back and think about it," Saunders said. "Because when you're driving without a license, and/or you don't have insurance, it's a very selfish move, because anything could happen at any time."

Orr's bill passed through the committee unanimously even as some senators were concerned that the penalties would be too tough. 

"Their family's going to be penalized because they didn't use good judgment," said Sen. Rodger Smitherman, D-Birmingham.  "They've got two children at home, they got to eat, and they're saying they should have known.  Those people are going to be penalized, because they had 30 days in jail and lose his job."

In response to those concerns, Orr said he will offer an amendment that would lower those penalties to 10 days in jail after that third offense.  He says the mandatory jail time is the key to deter some repeat offenders from getting behind the wheel.  The full Senate and then the House will have to vote on the bill before it becomes law.

Copyright 2012 WSFA 12 News.  All rights reserved.

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