Rep. Elizabeth Thomson
SANTA FE–The requirements to get a driver’s license reinstated for DWI offenders would become more difficult to meet under House Bill 10 sponsored by Rep. Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson, D-Bernalillo.
HB 10 requires an additional fee of $75 (currently $25), completion of the license revocation period, and tighter ignition interlock removal requirements.
Under the current law, a DWI offender is required to use an ignition interlock on their car for a minimum of one year regardless of the blood alcohol readings registered on the interlock.
HB 10 would require clean readings during the last six months prior to the reinstatement of the offender’s driver’s license. The offender must take at least one ignition interlock test during each of 24 weeks during the last six months and show evidence that the device has recorded no more than two tests at a level greater than .05 alcohol concentration.
“If you continue to drink, you won’t automatically get your ignition interlock device taken off,” Thomson said. “You have to prove that you are controlling your drinking.”
The ignition interlock requirement is just one of several provisions in HB 10 that targets habitual offenders. HB10 also increases the penalty for repeat drunk drivers to be treated in the same manner as any other felony when sentencing. It also requires home breathalyzer devices and allows electronic monitoring devices for an offender under house arrest and it provides assistance for home breathalyzer devices from the Interlock Device Fund.
Rep. Stephanie Garcia Richard, D-Los Alamos, Rio Arriba, Sandoval, Santa Fe and Rep. Tim Lewis, R-Sandoval, also are co-sponsors.
Thomson, along with Garcia Richard, Lewis and Speaker W. Ken Martinez, D-Bernalillo, Cibola, McKinley, San Juan, Socorro, Valencia, is one of the “2013 Legislative Champions” as recognized by the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD.)
The lawmakers will be presented with an award for their efforts Feb. 6 at the New Mexico State Capitol.
“Drunk driving is an especially dangerous problem in our state, and these lawmakers are on the front line, working to protect New Mexico families from this violent, preventable crime,” said MADD New Mexico State Executive Director Ben Lewinger. “MADD appreciates and honors their collective efforts to stop drunk driving and save lives.”
“I just get heartbroken when I hear another family has been killed or someone has been killed by a person who has had eight DWIs,” Thomson said. “We need to protect families, we need to protect individuals, and we need to get help for the people who are drinking and driving – not just throw them in jail and throw away the key. We need to make sure that when they are able to drive again, they have their drinking under control so that we don’t hear any more of these horrific stories.”