House lawmakers have passed a bill that would change the way habitual DWI status is determined.
Right now, a driver must be convicted of four DWIs within a ten-year period before being classified as a habitual offender. But that status expires after a decade of no offenses. Republican Representative Edgar Starnes says the measure seeks to change that.
"This is an excellent bill. Drunk driving is a serious problem in this state. Now in the last session, we revisited the issue of habitual drunk driving, and we made some changes, and this was a loophole that was created inadvertently, we're trying to tighten the law up," says Starnes.
House Bill 31 would give district attorneys the option to indict a person driving under the influence as a habitual DWI offender, even after ten years of having a clean record.
The bill was inspired by a man who was allowed back on the road after a jail sentence of more than a decade, and then was charged with another DWI. The measure passed with bipartisan support and now goes to the Senate.