Proposed bill looks to expunge DUIs after 5 years

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga.,None - Some Georgia lawmakers are supporting a bill that would give DUI offenders a second chance if they kept a clean record for five years.

"Honestly our immediate reaction was a little bit of surprise that anyone would propose a bill of this nature," said Barry Martin, executive director of Georgia's Chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Martin told Channel 2's Kerry Kavanaugh House Bill 799 is the wrong move for lawmakers.

Rep. Rusty Kidd of Milledgeville said it's all about giving people a second chance.

The bill states if someone is convicted of a driving under the influence, but maintains a clean record for the next five years, then the DUI should be "permanently expunged" and "completely removed" from their record.

Kavanaugh found drivers with mixed emotions.

"Law enforcement needs to know that someone has a history," driver Keith Solinksy said.

"If that person is a one-time offender, has never done it before and has other people to stand up for them to say they've been better about it, then I don't see what the problem is," driver Mia Lyons said.

Martin says one problem they find about the one-page bill isn't just for one-time offenders.

"It doesn't distinguish between a first-time offender and a habitual offender, if someone has five DUI's. It doesn't even distinguish someone who's been in a DUI crash that resulted in injury or death," Martin said.

Kidd told Kavanaugh he's heard stories about people who have learned from their mistakes but are now having a hard time securing employment or getting into some schools.

Martin said that was a choice they made.

"It's not a mistake. Every time you drive under the influence you've made a choice," Martin said.

Kavanaugh also showed the bill to Gwinnett County police. They wouldn't speak directly to the bill, but they said expunging anyone's record can really limit their investigations.

"If you remove that permanent record all that may do is hamper is our ability to further our investigations," Cpl. Ed Ritter of the Gwinnett County police said.

Ritter said the threat of a permanent record can prevent others from getting behind the wheel impaired.

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