New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is pushing for harsher drunk driving laws once the legislature resumes on January 15, according to KOB4 television
Martinez's legislative agenda includes increasing penalties for repeat offenders and for felony DWI charges to count toward habitual offender status.
"Number seven conviction is no different than number 21, no different," Gov. Martinez said. "The penalty is the same, so we should make it so that on your eighth and subsequent convictions you should serve a second degree felony sentence which is 15 years behind bars." Each subsequent conviction would add 15 more years, the TV station reported.
The governor also wants the legislature to approve bills that would allow the state to impound the vehicles of people arrested for driving with a revoked license on a drunk DWI charge. She also wants a bill passed that would enable lab technicians to take part in DWI hearings via video conference calls instead of appearing in person to testify.
Martinez's legislative initiative is getting help from a Colorado couple that lost their unborn son last June after a suspected drunk driver hit their car. The couple started a website, “Justice for Dimitri,” which has received nearly 3,000 signatures aimed at pressuring New Mexico officials into strengthening the state's drunk driving laws.
"We're hopeful that the story of Dimitri will become one that people can personalize," said Gov. Martinez. "Sometimes we have short memories and we forget the last tragedy that was experienced in this state. Here's a woman that was seven months pregnant, just passing through."
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