Updated: Thursday, 20 Jan 2011, 9:58 AM MST
Published : Tuesday, 18 Jan 2011, 10:06 PM MST
SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) - Governor Susana Martinez said New Mexico is not doing enough to stop drunk drivers. She wants a law to seize cars from repeat drunk drivers all over the state.
“We should seize the vehicles of repeat drunk drivers and increase mandatory prison terms,” she said during her State of the State address Tuesday.
Linda Atkinson with the DWI Resource Center explained how the program would work.
“Once you've got that first conviction, if you are arrested again, [your] vehicle [would be] gone," said Atkinson.
The state program would be modeled after the Albuquerque Police Department’s program.
”It has, in a sense, been piloted here in Albuquerque, and the issues have been worked out,” Atkinson said. “So, it's not like they have to start from scratch and re-invent the wheel.”
The Martinez administration said the governor is working on getting a bill introduced during this session. She wants the statewide seizures to start July 1, when all bills passed in this session would go into effect.
“Let's get them off the street and away from our families,” Martinez said of drunk drivers during her speech.
Atkinson said the program could take away the keys to thousands of vehicles every year, since about 5,000 repeat drunk drivers are arrested for DWI every year. The cars would then be sold at auction, making more money for the program.
Atkinson explained, “That funding goes back to help pay for the program to keep these impaired drivers off the road.”
Governor Martinez also wants more prison time for drunk drivers with four or more convictions. The governor's office said it's still hammering out those details.
Right now, a fourth DWI conviction carries a minimum sentence of six months and a maximum of a year-and-a-half in prison. A seventh conviction for DWI has a minimum two-year sentence, with a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
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