Rep. Jim Dines
SANTA FE ― Rep. Jim Dines pre-filed legislation to allow judges to impose stricter penalties on DWI felons.
The bill, HB 82, targets a gap in New Mexico’s Habitual Offender law by expanding the statute to include DWI felonies.
“Chronic drunk driving is a habitual offense, and it should be included in the current statute,” Dines said. “We need stiff penalties to send a message that this repeated and flagrant disregard for the law won’t be allowed.”
A DWI offense can be considered a felony after the fourth conviction. Currently, individuals convicted of a DWI felony do not qualify for the harsher sentence they would receive under the Habitual Offender statute.
The legislation sponsored by Dines would make repeat drunk drivers eligible for sentencing under the Habitual Offender law.
“We need to put serial drunk drivers on notice that the penalties for their reckless behavior will steeply escalate until they stop driving under the influence,” Dines said. “Standard sentences are not proving to be a deterrent for individuals convicted of four or more DWIs. This bill will help take the car keys out of their hands and keep them in prison.”