State lawmakers are attempting to close a loophole that has allowed persistent drunk drivers to avoid harsh sentences.
Lawmakers thought they had approved harsh treatment of drivers convicted of their third DWI, but the State Supreme Court ruled that a county or city citation didn’t count. Kansas City Representative Ryan Silvey’s amendment to an Ignition Interlock Device bill ( HB 1423 ) would count any driving under the influence ticket, no matter who issues it.
"This amendment simply makes a DWI, a DWI is a DWI no matter who stops you," Silvey tells colleagues during House floor debate, "Driving drunk is driving drunk and we should we treat it as such in this state."
Some lawmakers worry that the change would affect plea deals prosecutors have worked out in drunk driving cases. Silvey replies it only would make those convictions count toward the total. Silvey says it shouldn’t matter whether a state highway patrol trooper or a city police officer or a county deputy sheriff caught a motorist driving drunk.
The bill has been passed by the House. It hasn’t moved in the Senate with two weeks to go in this legislative session.