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Kilmartin Renews Push For Tougher DUI Penalties

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Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is renewing a push for tougher penalties that he calls a better deterrent for the harm caused by drunk drivers. ...

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin is renewing a push for tougher penalties that he calls a better deterrent for the harm caused by drunk drivers.

“Choosing to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while intoxicated or impaired on drugs is like playing with a loaded firearm -- it’s dangerous and often deadly,” Kilmartin said in a statement. “Every individual who gets behind the wheel of a motor vehicle while intoxicated is risking their own life and the life of others on the roads. The penalties for such a deadly and callous decision should reflect the seriousness of the act, and there can be nothing more serious than taking the life of another.”

Kilmartin calls for doubling, from 15 to 30 years, the maximum sentence for DUI death resulting or serious bodily injury, along with a fine of up to $20,000 and license revocation for up to 10 years. The state's top prosecutor also wants to raise the top sentence for driving to endanger resulting in death from 10 to 20 years, and from five up to 10 years for those convicted of driving as to endanger serious bodily injury.

State Senator Susan Sosnowski (D-South Kingstown) plans to introduce legislation backing Kilmartin's proposals.

Another piece of the AG's approach includes raising from five to 10 years the "look-back" for alcohol-related offenses.

A series of similar Kilmartin-backed proposals have died in the General Assembly since he took office as attorney general in 2011, although a bill passed in 2014 allows judges to ban people convicted of drunk driving from using a car without a device to prove that they’re sober.

Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.