A Tennessee congressman familiar to Memphis has introduced a bipartisan bill that would change DUI reporting methods for law enforcement agencies across the country. Rep. Steve Cohen and Rep. Steve Chalbot (Ohio) recently introduced the DUI Reporting Act.
The two say their measure is designed to close a loophole in drunk driving laws that allows some “repeat DUI offenders to be charged and tried as first-time offenders because of inconsistent reporting.”
Cohen says the case of a man who was in a crash that resulted in the deaths of two 17-year-olds in 2015 was on his mind as he helped craft this bill. The man had nearly double the legal blood alcohol limit at the time of the wreck. He was sentenced to 60 years in prison.
But in the seven years before that tragedy, he was charged with drunk driving seven times and was convicted in five of those cases. Each time, he pleaded guilty to DUI and was sentenced as a first-time offender.
According to Cohen, that driver was treated that way because none of the counties in which he was arrested reported his history to the National Crime Information Center database.
Tennessee now has a law requiring all police departments to report arrests to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI) within five days and every drunk driving arrest to NCIC within a week.
If you have been arrested for drunk driving and face our state’s tough DUI penalties, speak with a criminal defense attorney who will fight for your rights and freedom.