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Utah may give a break to young DUI offenders

SB28 • Minors who get busted for driving under the influence could get a break under a bill approved Tuesday by the Utah Senate.

SB28, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, would allow underage motorists to have their license reinstated by the court after two years if the driver is under 19 years, or after six months if the driver is between 19 and 21 years old.

To qualify, the offender must complete a screening and assessment program, comply with the terms of probation, and provide a sworn statement that he or she has not consumed alcohol during the suspension period.

Two years ago, the Legislature enacted a law suspending an underage driver with a DUI until the offender is 21 years old. But that law has proven to be too harsh, said Jenkins, with individuals unable to drive to work or school, in some cases, for several years.

“What drives this is the desire to give some of these 18-year-olds a chance to get back their license,” Jenkins said during earlier debate on the bill.

The measure cleared the Senate 26-0 and now goes to the House.

gehrke@sltrib.com

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