Surrounded by teary-eyed families who lost loved ones because of drunken drivers, Gov. Susana Martinez on Tuesday signed Senate Bill 118 into law, significantly increasing the penalties for the worst DWI repeat offenders and for drunken drivers who kill people on the road.
The signing ceremony was held at the State Police district headquarters in Albuquerque. The bill takes effect July 1.
Sponsored by Rep. Sarah Maestas Barnes, R-Albuquerque, and Sen. George Muñoz, D-Gallup, the bill reclassifies vehicular homicide while under the influence of alcohol or drugs from a third-degree felony to a second-degree felony, and subjects a convicted offender to up to 15 years in prison – up from six years.
In addition, mandatory sentencing for convicted repeat offenders with eight and subsequent DWI arrests will increase from two years to 10 years, with a maximum sentence of 12 years.