Cracking Down on Repeat Drunk Drivers: New Law Targets Drunk Drivers On A Third Conviction

Now drunk drivers have their very own three strikes law. Beginning January 1, 2012, California courts will be armed with a new stricter law aimed at curbing repeat drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel.
AB 1601, signed into law on September 25, 2010 by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, was sponsored by Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.
Starting today, drunk drivers convicted a third time in 10 years for driving under the influence could lose their driver’s license for up to 10 years. Previously, according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the penalty for a third DUI offense in the state was a maximum three-year license suspension. More recently, since July 1, 2010, it has been a six-month suspension followed by a restricted license used in conjunction with an ignition interlock device.
The new law will have far-reaching effects on repeat offenders. Consider that there were 310,971, 3-time drunk driver offenders arrested and another 44,210, 5-time offenders arrested in California in 2010, according to the DMV and Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD).
• According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, in California, there were 791 people killed in traffic accidents in 2010 attributed to drunk drivers. Overall there were 2,715 people in California killed in 2010. Nationwide there were 10,228 deaths attributed to alcohol impaired driving, a decrease of 4.9% from 2009. Overall there were 32,885 people killed in the US.
Also, according to MADD, about a third of all drunk drivers arrested or convicted of DUI are repeat offenders. These drivers are about 40% more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers without prior DUIs.
One such repeat offender was 44, who was convicted of his 10th DUI in July 2010. He was also convicted of second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter in the death of a nine-year-old Melody Osheroff at a crosswalk in Novato, California.
It was May, 27, 2009. Schaefer was out speeding on his Harley Davidson motorcycle. So drunk, that he sped right through a red stop light. That’s when he struck the girl and her father Aaron Osheroff who were walking across the street holding hands. The father lost one leg and nearly lost the other in the crash. It turned out that Schaefer’s blood alcohol content was between 0.11 and 0.16 at the time of the crash.
In July, 2010, Schafer began serving his 24 years to life sentence at San Quentin. Ten days later, he was stabbed to death by another inmate in the exercise yard as revenge for the girl’s death. However, the death and a legal technicality spared Schaefer of the conviction.
Prior to his death, Schaefer had appealed his convictions. Now a legal principle called the rule of abatement ab initio has voided all proceedings against Schaefer because when a defendant dies before their appeal has been heard it erases the conviction. It’s as if Schaefer died an innocent man. So what does that mean to the victims of his crime? The father of the girl had a $1.4 million in medical costs and lost wages that may now be voided.
Have you been injured in a California or Nevada car accident by a negligent driver? Do you need a California Personal Injury Law Firm? For roughly 30 years, the legal experts at Seegmiller Law Firm have represented hundreds of clients injured in serious traffic accidents. Our legal team has also handled hundreds of wrongful death claims for families of victims killed in traffic accidents. Indeed, the car accident law firm has a proven track record supported by settlements ranging from several thousand dollars to millions.
Seegmiller is a California Personal Injury Law Firm with a track record of proven results. There is no cost to clients until our experienced team of lawyers and legal professionals have won your case. Finding the best car accident attorney can mean you will get the settlement you need to get your life back on track. Compensation for your injuries, loss of wages and pain and suffering can’t take away the trauma of the accident, but it can help you rebuild your life.
Call us today at 1-877-426-0695 to speak with our car accident law firm. Seegmiller Law Firm has offices in California including its headquarters in Irvine. We also have offices outside of Orange County to serve you in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside and in Las Vegas, Nevada.
• Listen to Attorney West Seegmiller talk live about this and other legal subjects on his radio show West of Legal at 1 p.m. on Sunday afternoons on KFWB News Talk 980.

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