Alabama bill would change requirements for DUI offenders

WAFF 48's Claudia Peppenhorst reporting
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 6:45 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) -Senate Bill 72 would give judges the ability to decide how easy or hard it would be to get back behind the wheel for a person charged with driving under the influence.

Under current Alabama law, those charged with a DUI, and in a pretrial diversion program, are mandated to have an ignition interlock device installed in their car.

Bill sponsor State Senator Gerald Allen said he wants people charged with DUI to have a second chance but a judge should be able to put guidelines in place in order for them to drive again.

“The judge will have that opportunity to help this individual, but it’s going to be up to the judge to lay out the groundwork and the program for this individual.” Sen. Allen said.

An ignition interlock works like a breathalyzer and detecting the driver is impaired will prevent the car from starting.

Circuit Court Judge Claude Hundley says he supports the change to the mandate and that a judge would be able to make the best decision based on that person’s specific situation.

“I think the judge can craft things based on each individual’s situation because very rarely are they the same,” Hundley said.”It’s just like there is no one size that fits all.”

It can cost up to $150 to install the device and then an additional $75-$80 every month that it stays in your car. Senator Allen said it’s the price offenders have to pay for their mistakes but he wants them to have a second chance.

“Giving individuals a second chance to make sure that they understand they made a mistake is what motivated me to do this,” Sen. Allen said.

The bill passed the committee last week and is now heading to the Senate floor. Sen. Allen said he hopes lawmakers will see the importance of this bill as this year’s session winds down.

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