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New proposal seeks to increase punishments for drunk drivers

HONOLULU (KHON2) - Representative Chris Lee is proposing harsher punishments for people convicted with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or who have had their licenses revoked by the Administrative Driver's License Revocation Office for drunk driving. 

The new proposal would make it illegal for those convicted to buy or drink alcohol for three years.

"I talked with a bunch of folks who have had DUIs who have driven drunk in the past. Often just taking away a license or paying a fine isn't enough of a deterrent," said Rep. Chris Lee, who represents Kailua and Waimanalo. 

"So what we're looking at doing, is for any drunk driving conviction, prohibiting people from going out in public and publicly purchasing alcohol or drinking, to prevent them from actually being in a position where they would be able to drive home drunk again," said Lee.

As for enforcing the proposal, licenses will have a special mark alerting retailers to not sell alcohol to the person holding the license.

"Creating a designation on a license for example is an easy way to make sure that people are identified when they try to use that identification to buy alcohol. Because that's something that's checked anytime someone wants to buy a drink," said Lee.

But attorney David Fanelli says the current proposal has many problems that could cause legal issues in the future.

"It's criminalizing a conviction in a sense that it's making it then criminal to consume liquor in public. This raises a host of constitutional issues with the commerce clause," said David Fanelli, an attorney.

"Another issue that arises is an invasion of privacy issue where you have to show your ID, and it's going to say 'liquor restricted' on there. There's any number of places where you'd need to show your ID that have nothing to do with purchasing alcohol," said Fanelli.

He says even the enforcement would be difficult because it requires help from workers.

"People who have liquor licenses are now to police these people the same way they police these people under 21, and it'll be a misdemeanor if they violate it," said Fanelli.

As for the specifics of whether the new proposal will make the designation after the first or additional DUIs, Representative Lee says that's still something to discuss in future meetings.

You can read the full proposal here. 


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