Repeat DUI Offenders Get Light Penalties In Florida County


The penalties for being convicted of driving under the influence has not stopped almost 10,000 Lee County, Fl., motorists from committing the crime twice or more, reports the Ft. Myers News-Press. Some were so undeterred, they drove drunk again the same year they were convicted of an earlier DUI charge. Last year, 24 drunken or high drivers were convicted, then arrested for another DUI – some within a week of each other. Two others picked up their 10th DUI charge last year.

The number of repeat drunken drivers worries local judges and prosecutors, but sentences focus on rehabilitation and prevention instead of lengthy jail time. That likely won't change soon. Any proposal that would send more people to jail or prison would probably be rejected in the legislature because of budgetary concerns. “Any bill that has a fiscal impact – more prison beds – is dead on arrival,” said Sen. Dave Aronberg. An analysis by the News-Press of almost 400 motorists convicted in Lee County of their second or subsequent DUI charge in 2009 found long jail terms rare: 39 of the 400 convicted of two or more DUIs were sentenced to six months or more.

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