NC Democrats concerned DWI penalties hurt poor offenders

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Some North Carolina Senate Democrats are concerned that passing more severe penalties and conditions for drunk drivers may place restrictive costs on poor offenders.

During debate in a Senate committee Thursday, Durham Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr. voiced concerns from some colleagues that poor drivers with drunken driving offenses are unable to afford the maintenance on devices installed in their cars requiring a breathalyzer test to start the engine. The Senate is considering legislation requiring more offenders to install the devices, as well as lowering the legal blood alcohol limit for repeat offenders and lessening the number of offenses needed to be charged with habitual drunk driving.

Republicans say the laws would reduce the hundreds of deaths caused each year by drunk driving in North Carolina.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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