Governor Considers Bill to Allow DUI Offenders with Revoked Licenses Back on Roads

Jack Smith
Jack Smith
Peter Carlisle
Peter Carlisle

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Should a person who's been pulled over for DUI four times in 10 years be allowed to continue driving? A bill passed by the state legislature this year would give such an offender the opportunity to get his or her license back after a period of time.

Deadly crashes caused by drunken drivers. Innocent lives lost. Prosecutors say the public should be fearful.

"At night and on weekends, hard-core drunk drivers make up 1% of the people who are on the road driving, yet they are responsible for almost 50% of the fatal crashes," Peter Carlisle, Honolulu prosecutor, said.

Under current Hawaii law, people who are pulled over for DUI four times in 10 years lose their driving privileges for life. But a bill on the Governor's desk could put them back on our roadways.

"It doesn't follow them with ideas of monitoring them appropriately, putting restrictions on how you can determine whether they're driving drunk or not," Carlisle said. "So if you're sitting there and saying there's lots of safeguards in this bill, I would respectfully disagree with you."

But Pastor Jack Smith supports the measure. He says one of his fellow pastors is a multiple DUI offender.

"Yes, he was an alcoholic. Yes, he drank. Yes, he was picked up and arrested. Yes," Smith said. "But that's been 12 years plus."

He says offenders can be rehabilitated.

"Most people have skeletons in their closet. They haven't always been good boys and good girls," Smith said. "But people's lives change."

Prosecutors say the measure could affect 1,100 offenders statewide whose drivers licenses have been revoked for life.