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Published April 02, 2013, 09:17 PM

Senate approves changes to DUI bill

There's support for stronger DUI laws in North Dakota, but the option before lawmakers is not as stiff as it was when first proposed. The Senate approved changes Tuesday to House Bill 1302 - the only DUI proposal still alive.

There's support for stronger DUI laws in North Dakota, but the option before lawmakers is not as stiff as it was when first proposed. The Senate approved changes Tuesday to House Bill 1302 - the only DUI proposal still alive.

The bill doubles the fines and jail time of the current DUI law. However, the penalties were much harsher when the bill was introduced. For example, a first offense was a minimum of four days in jail, now it's two days and that's only if a driver's blood alcohol level is over 0.18. Senator Kelly Armstrong says they also decided to keep a second offense as a B Misdemeanor to avoid putting a huge burden on the court system.

The revised bill also creates a vehicular homicide statute. If a person is killed in an alcohol-related crash the penalty is a Felony with three years in prison.

Sen. Kelly Armstrong: "Your transportation committee felt that if you are going to choose to drink and drive we are going to treat your car as a loaded weapon. If you play Russian roulette and make it home then good, don't do it again. But if you injure someone, we are going to hold you accountable."

Senator Armstrong says the need for more education kept coming up during hearings on the DUI bills this session.

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