Utah House committee votes unanimously for mandatory prison time in DUI homicides
Jan 30, 2024, 7:41 AM | Updated: 1:30 pm
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah lawmaker wants much harsher mandatory penalties for those who drink and drive and kill someone.
State Representative Andrew Stoddard, R-Midvale, wants a minimum five-year prison sentence for those who get behind the wheel impaired and are charged with automobile homicide. Currently, the law is 1 to 15 years, which, according to Stoddard, means someone could avoid prison altogether.
“What we want to do is create a minimum and say this is how long this offender will be in. This will allow this much time for these families to grieve, to heal,” he said, in an interview with KSL TV.
Stoddard presented his bill, HB273, before members of the House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standing Committee on Monday afternoon.
“April 28th, 2022. He was 13 years old,” said a tearful Jeremy Mitchell.
Mitchell lost his son Eli to a drunk driver in West Jordan nearly two years ago and testified in the committee hearing in support of HB273.
“I’m here to protect future victims; to have a mandatory five years or more before (offenders) go to a parole board,” he said. “(Right now), they can get out in 5 years or less and life can change for them. It doesn’t change for me. I have to live this the rest of my life. These things just keep happening and nothing is changing. People are still getting in their cars and driving drunk. In my opinion they make a conscious decision to do it and it’s like having a weapon ready to roll.”