Earlier this month, Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen (Democrat) and Ohio Congressman Steve Chabot (Republican) proposed the DUI Reporting Act. The proposed bill aims to solve a longstanding loophole in the system that was allowing repeat DUI offenders to walk away as “first-time” offenders.
Tennessee law requires police to report all DUIs
Unlike many other states, Tennessee law requires police to report all DUIs to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), a database of arrests and criminal history that can be accessed on all police computers and vehicles. Reports of this nature must be made within 7 days of the initial arrest. If passed into law, the DUI Reporting Act will require similar actions from all states.
When proposing the bill, Congressmen Cohen and Chabot specifically referenced the 2015 case of Malendus Penson. While driving under the influence, Penson hit and killed two 17-year-olds, Maddie Kruse and Rachel Lynch. During Penson’s trial, the court discovered that he had been arrested a total of 7 times for previous DUIs, and convicted 5 times. However, municipalities failed to report his previous DUIs with NCIC, consequently allowing repeat offenders to walk away with multiple “first-time” offense convictions. Upon learning the real facts of his case, the court sentenced Penson to 60 years in prison for vehicular homicide and DUI.
Cohen and Chabot’s new bill is designed to prevent this from happening, calling for standardized reporting of DUI offenses and making the arrest information available to police officers across all county and state lines.
“This bill will save lives by enacting common-sense, bipartisan reforms to harmonize reporting standards for DUI offenses across the states,” Congressman Cohen declared. The bill has a number of bipartisan sponsors, including Julie Brownley (D-CA), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Betty McCollum (D-MN), and Trent Kelly (R-MS).
With this proposed legislation, DUI arrests and records will be available to all police officers across the country and may make DUI sentences even harsher for repeat offenders. At the Law Office of Peacock & Le Beau, we are dedicated to defending you throughout the entirety of your case.