Usually when we hear a lawmaker’s plea about drunk driving it is on behalf of the victims of a drunk driver. As Montana legislature is proposing stiffer DUI laws, State Representative and bar owner, Alan Hale (R) recently gave a plea against the proposal.
Several recent high-profile drunk driving deaths in Montana have created momentum for changing the state’s laws. The Legislature is trying to tackle the issue as state officials and law enforcement urge them to create stricter penalties and implement programs to fix the state’s overwhelming problem with drinking and driving. But, Hale says “These DUI laws are not doing our small businesses in our state any good at all. They are destroying them. They are destroying “a way of life” that has been in Montana for years and years. Taverns and bars connect people together and are the centers of our communities; to get to them you must drive.”
Montana has been considered a DUI death zone for years; it is a state where driving under the influence is an acknowledged part of the culture. Until recently, Montana had one of the most permissive drunken driving cultures in the country. Montanans could legally sip a beer while driving and repeated DUI offenders tallied sixth and seventh offenses with little punishment, giving drunken drivers far too many chances to get wasted and waste lives. Current law allows the state to look back five years on a driver’s background to see if there have been any DUIs. The recent proposal seeks to extend that period to ten years. This comes after years of virtually ignoring the state’s ranking at or near the top of per-capita drunken driving deaths.
Hale is not the only lawmaker to push back against DUI reform in Montana. Senator Jonathan Windy Boy (D) specifically was against the proposal to strip driver’s licenses from teens caught drinking. He argued that the entire proposed DUI reform puts the Legislature on "the path of criminalizing everyone in Montana." What about destroying a life? What about public safety? Do you think what Hale is saying makes any sense? I urge you to comment.
Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association as well as their ABA Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.