State Senator Steven Bradford of the 35th State District recently introduced a bill designed to curtail certain loopholes in California law that allow drivers convicted of DUI to avoid more severe penalties.
On Tuesday, Senator Bradford penned an opinion piece in The Pasadena-Star News outlining the reasons why stricter guidelines to ensure DUI offenders, particularly those with multiple DUI convictions, should be applied to our state’s current law.
State data indicates that DUI citations and arrests in Sacramento County increased some 125%. At the same time, San Diego, El Dorado, and Placer Counties saw their DUI numbers double from the previous two years.
Over the past 10 years, California DUI deaths increased to levels above the national levels for fatal DUI or impaired driving accidents. This is alarming considering that most US states have seen fatal accidents involving impaired drivers go down some 8 percent overall.
In 2020, Assembly Bill 3234 was enacted. This law made diversion programs available for all misdemeanor crimes, including DUI. However, a recent Appellate Court decision ruled against diversion programs for DUI offenders. Bradford believes that introducing his bill, SB 1021, will provide smart standards for DUI misdemeanor convictions that will “…rehabilitate offenders, reduce recidivism and protect public safety.”
If passed into law, the bill would require first-time DUI offenders to enroll in a mandatory DUI education program, attend a victim impact panel, and install an ignition lock device in their vehicle while participating in the program.
“SB 1021 would provide a crucial second chance for those who deserve it, while repeat offenders would be held accountable for the seriousness of their crimes,” Bradford said. He further explained that there would be a limit on the number of times that a repeat offender could participate in the diversion program before facing more serious penalties.