Repeat DUI Offenders

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Tallahassee - May 9, 2012 - 11:40pm

Mothers Against Drunk Driving say the average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before their first arrest. After that arrest many still get behind the wheel impaired. Now the group is calling for stronger punishments for those repeat offenders.

The CEO of Bond Community Health Center in Tallahassee was arrested after Cinco de Mayo celebrations. This was a second DUI arrest for Junior Richards. His first was in Atlanta, Georgia.

This latest arrest makes him a repeat offender, but numbers from Mothers Against Drunk Driving show that there are people who are actually caught re-offending more than twice.

"The DUI law as it states, it's a strong law but dealing with all the case law, dealing with all the evidence presented, it really depends, it's kind of roll the dice and see what you get," says Kristen Allen with MADD.

The latest numbers from MADD are from 2010. They show that in Florida 108, 853 people were arrested for DUI three times. Another 13,054 were caught more than five times.

In Georgia, the numbers are down. The study shows 45, 598 were caught three times and another 5,782 were caught five times.

"We don't want to see people getting reduced down to reckless because it's not teaching that person that what they did, their behavior, it needs to change," says Allen.

MADD reports that this year more than 10,800 people will die in drunk driving crashes.

The Department of Motor Vehicles lists similar punishments for first time offenders in Florida and Georgia. Those include a find of up to $500, community service, probation time, up to six months jail time and losing your license for at least 180 days. For those arrested a second or third time the fines get bigger and jail time gets longer.

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