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DWI bill passes State House

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The House has unanimously approved a proposal Wednesday toughening penalties against drunken driving in New Mexico.

The legislation will establish new standards for drunken drivers to meet before they can get their licenses fully restored and stop using an ignition interlock, which are intended to prevent vehicles from operating if the driver has been drinking.

Drivers must blow into the devices before starting their vehicles and then randomly after that.

Another provision allows judges to require drunken drivers sentenced to house arrest to use a breath alcohol analyzing device in their home to determine whether they remain sober.

The measure also will add mandatory prison time to the basic sentence of drunken driving offenders with previous felonies.

The legislation cleared the House on Wednesday and goes to the Senate for consideration.

The vote was 63-0 and the bill was sponsored by Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson (D-Bernalillo), Stephanie Garcia Richard (D-Los Alamos, Sandoval, Rio Arriba and Santa Fe) and Tim Lewis (R-Sandoval) and the House Judiciary Committee to consolidate their three separate bills into one comprehensive package.