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Wyoming Senate committee passes DUI loophole bill – Casper Star

A bill that would close loopholes in Wyoming’s mandatory
ignition interlock law easily won approval Monday from a
legislative committee.

The legislation is designed to address flaws in existing law
that may have allowed hundreds of convicted drunken drivers to
avoid having the devices installed in their cars.

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill by a 5-0 vote,
according to its sponsor, Sen. Drew Perkins, R-Casper. He expects
the legislation will be taken up by the full Senate later this
week.

The interlock devices prevent drivers from starting their cars
if they’ve been drinking. A law passed in 2009 requires them to be
installed in the vehicles of first-time offenders convicted of
driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of .15 or higher.

However, data from the Wyoming Department of Transportation
released last fall showed the devices were installed in fewer than
20 percent of the drivers who met that criteria. 

A technicality in the law allowed prosecutors and defense
attorneys to use the devices as a point of negotiation in plea
bargains, according to Perkins. In exchange for a guilty plea, a
prosecutor might agree to stipulate that a defendant’s
blood-alcohol concentration was below the level where the device
becomes mandatory.

The law also mandated the devices for people with multiple
drunken driving convictions.

Reach reporter Joshua Wolfson at (307) 266-0582 or at
josh.wolfson@trib.com. Visit
http://trib.com/news/opinion/blogs/wolfjammies/ to read his blog.
Follow him on Twitter @joshwolfson.

Bill Tracker

Senate File 137

* What the bill would do: Close loopholes in the state’s
mandatory interlock ignition law.

* The latest: The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the bill
Monday.

* What’s next: The full Senate is expected to take up the
legislation later this week.

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