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Dustin's Law increases penalties for drunk driving in Tennessee

Drunk drivers in Tennessee could soon be facing stiffer penalties -- especially if their actions result in injury or death to others. A proposed law would make those convicted of drunk driving more than once subject to lengthier prison terms than they currently face. The mother of a young man killed in a drunk driving accident three years ago is leading efforts to make the proposal a law.

The proposed bill is named Dustin's Law in honor of the young man who died. The man convicted in the crash that caused the young man's death was sentenced to 10 years in prison. The decedent's family felt that was not enough time to gain justice for their lost loved one.

Currently in Tennessee, the longest prison sentences and costliest fines are saved for repeat DUI offenders whose alcohol level measured triple the legal limit at the time of their arrest. Under the proposed bill, a drunk driver does not have to have a prior conviction for drunk driving to receive the strongest sentence possible if he or she has a sky-high blood alcohol content. Those who have a BAC of just .08 would also be subject to the harsher penalties if, in addition to alcohol, they test positive for methamphetamine usage.

Proponents of the bill say it could bring some measure of relief to the people who lost a family member in a drunk driving accident. It is important to remember that people charged with drunk driving have families too. Regardless of what they are thought to have done, they are entitled to the presumption of innocence until -- and only if -- it is proven otherwise in an unbiased hearing of the facts presented in a court of law.

Source: wrcbtv.com, Dustin's Law would increase penalties for drunk drivers, No author, Feb. 24, 2014

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