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Alcohol Restrictions for DUI Offenders

Alaska became the first state to enact a drunk driving law. that allows courts to prohibit some DUI offenders from buying alcohol. This law, enacted in January 2009, brings up questions about how far legislatures are allowed to go in regulating the behavior of those convicted of drunk driving for the purpose of ensuring public safety. The law originated as House Bill 14 which was introduced by Representative Harry Crawford. Rep. Crawford introduced the legislation after his wife was struck by a drunk driver in 2004 on Christmas Eve. The drunk driver, who hit Rep. Crawford’s wife when she was walking home from church, had a blood alcohol content level that was four times the legal limit under Alaska law. The drunk driver in the case eventually agreed to a five-year prison sentence as part of a plea bargain. Rep. Crawford’s wife had to have multiple surgeries following the accident.

UnderAlaska Statute 04.16.160, a court in a DUI case may issue an order prohibiting someone convicted of DUI from purchasing alcohol in Alaska. The restriction on buying alcohol may be issued as part of a DUI defendant’s sentence or as a condition of a DUI defendant’s parole or probation for a DUI conviction. The law originally applied only in felony DUI cases, but in 2010 was amended to apply in misdemeanor DUI cases where alcohol is a factor. It is left up to the sole discretion of the judge in a DUI case whether to issue an alcohol restriction order. If a court in a DUI case issues an alcohol restriction order, this order is then sent to the Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

The DMV then issues the DUI defendant a new alcohol restricted license. According torules of the DMV, the DUI defendant is then issued a new driver’s license or state identification card which is marked with a “J” which means it is alcohol restricted. The new license will have the words “Alcohol Restricted” on it in a red banner. Some people refer to these licenses as “red stripe licenses.” The red stripe on the license is meant to alert liquor store owners, bars, and nightclubs to the fact that the license holder is not allowed to buy alcohol. If a red stripe license holder attempts to buy alcohol illegally in Alaska, they will be fined $1000. After the DUI defendant has satisfied the terms of their probation or parole and the alcohol restriction court order expires, the DUI defendant will become eligible to obtain a regular unmarked driver’s license.

The only trouble that the State has had in enforcing the law is due to the fact that not all alcohol vendors check the ID’s of purchasers. According to anarticle in KTUU.Com, the State has attempted to combat this loophole by requiring universal ID checks to be done by liquor stores as well as restaurants, bars, and shops that sell alcohol.

New Mexico Alcohol Restriction Law

New Mexico has long been recognized as having one of the highest rates for alcohol-related deaths in the United States. Due to this, local legislators have recently introduced a newbill that would prohibit many DUI offenders from buying alcohol in stores, bars and restaurants. This new bill is considered to be one of the most restrictive pieces of drunk driving legislation in the country. The bill expands on a 2005 law requiring DUI offenders to install ignition interlock devices on their vehicles after a first conviction for DUI. The ignition interlock is a device that is installed in a car in order to measure the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC). If a driver blows into the device and it registers a BAC that is over a set limit, the car will not start. An ignition interlock device is usually ordered to be installed on the cars of first-time DUI offenders in New Mexico for a year.

The new alcohol restriction bill would prohibit those required to have ignition interlock devices from purchasing alcohol in New Mexico. Under the bill, DUI offenders required to have ignition interlock devices would be issued specially marked driver’s licenses indicating that they are not allowed to purchase alcohol. The new bill has passed the House of Representatives and has also cleared a Senate committee. The bill was sponsored by State Representative Brian Egolf, who was motivated to write it after seeing a man with an ignition interlock on his car buy alcohol. Rep. Egolf observed the man mix the whiskey with Coke and then blow into the ignition interlock device and start his car. Rep. Egolf stated that the new bill was meant to address the underlying problem of alcohol addiction that some DUI offenders have and is not meant to be merely punitive. Anarticle in the Albuquerque Journal states that there may be trouble enforcing the law if it passes because liquor retailers are not required to conduct ID checks for alcohol purchases. Rep. Egolf notes in the article that many liquor stores would object to requiring them to conduct mandatory ID checks for alcohol purchases.

This article is brought to you by Anelli Xavier DWI Defense, a Rochester NY DWI Lawyer.

Benjamin J. Doscher, Esq.

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