Friday, February 13, 2009
Lawmaker Introduces ‘BUI’ License Suspension Bill
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A lawmaker from Riverside County said yesterday he has introduced a bill to require the Department of Motor Vehicles to suspend the driver’s licenses of persons convicted of boating while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
SB 154, by Sen. John J. Benoit, R-Bermuda Dunes, would give the department the authority that the Court of Appeal for this district ruled last year that it did not have.
In Cinquegrani v. Department of Motor Vehicles (2008) 163 Cal. App. 4th 741, Div. Two upheld Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria G. Chaney’s decision enjoining the state from suspending and revoking licenses to operate a motor vehicle based upon an individual’s “boating under the influence” conviction.
The court reasoned that the statute on which the DMV was relying dealt only with sentencing for driving under the influence, permitting courts to treat past “BUI” convictions as priors for enhancement purposes, and did not make BUI the equivalent of DUI for suspension purposes.
Benoit, who spent 31 years in law enforcement with the Corona Police Department and the California Highway Patrol, said in a release:
“The same reckless mindset is at work when intoxicated individuals take either the wheel of the car or control of a watercraft....Having spent eight years in DUI enforcement, making over 1,000 arrests, I have witnessed how the bad choices made under the influence of alcohol have created countless tragedies. My legislation reflects the seriousness of BUI offenses, protecting the safety of travelers on California’s streets, highways, and waterways.”
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