I read with interest your story, “Woman with 8 OUIs gets 7 years” (May 30) about the woman who had just received her eighth OUI conviction. It’s a frightening reminder that there are dangerous drivers out there on our roads, and we all need to be careful and remain alert when we get behind the wheel.
This year, the Legislature passed a law that helps Maine get tougher on habitual drunken drivers.
Under the old law, if a person was convicted of driving drunk, the state wouldn’t be able to count anything that happened more than 10 years ago when determining the sentence — even if that person had a decades-long track record of felony OUI convictions.
But starting Aug. 1, habitual drunken drivers won’t be able to hide behind an artificial deadline any longer.
The 10-year “washout” period for felony OUI convictions will disappear and become a lifetime look-back, so previous felony OUI convictions will always be considered in sentencing.
Felony OUIs involve multiple repeat offenses or serious accidents in which someone is hurt or killed.
For this group of people, a more serious punishment is the only way forward.
The new law will hone in on a small number of people who pose a grave threat to the rest of us. I have absolutely zero doubt that getting them off the road will save lives.
As a co-sponsor of the bill and the wife of a former district attorney, I agree that we had to take this small but important step forward.
Rep. Lori Fowle D-Vassalboro