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Santa Fe – Rep. Sheryl Williams Stapleton looks to reduce the number of DWI repeat offenders by instituting a first offender follow-up program.
The bill she is sponsoring, House Bill 183, unanimously passed the House Consumer and Public Affairs Committee today.
On average, 20 percent of all first-time offenders will repeat offend, and alcohol-related crashes in New Mexico cost the public approximately $1.2 billion. HB 183 would require an additional intervention program for people convicted of their first DWI. The bill would add a mandatory 6-hour DWI follow-up school three to five months after the offender completes their first mandatory DWI school. The program is already being implemented in Bernalillo and Santa Fe, but Williams Stapleton wants the entire state to adopt this policy.
“We have had 186 first offenders attend this follow-up class,” Patrick de Palma, director of the DWI Follow-Up School said. “According to records from those areas, not one of those 186 has re-offended.” During the proposed follow-up class, attendants would review their previous goals for not drinking and driving and their personal action plans established in the first DWI class; learning ways to control impulses; seek help and develop a support system among other things.
HB 183 would add the follow-up DWI intervention program to the state’s existing punishment for first-offenders which includes:
• Imprisonment up to 90 days and/or
• A fine of not more than $500 and
• A period of probation between 90-365 days
• 24 house of community service; and
• Participation in a drug abuse screening program
• If necessary, a treatment program approved by the court; and
• Obtaining an ignition interlock device at their own expense for one year.
The bill will move on to the House Judiciary Committee.