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Published April 10, 2013, 03:39 PM

North Dakota Senate OKs bill to strengthen DUI penalties

BISMARCK — North Dakota's Senate has unanimously endorsed a bill aimed at strengthening penalties for drunken driving.

BISMARCK — North Dakota's Senate has unanimously endorsed a bill aimed at strengthening penalties for drunken driving.

Senators approved the bill 47-0 on Wednesday. The measure will now go to a conference committee to work out differences of House and Senate versions of the bill.

Along with increased fines and other penalties, the measure would require jail time or community service work for first-time DUI offenders who have blood alcohol content of 0.18 percent. That's more than twice the state's legal limit of 0.08 percent.

The bill also would require mandatory participation in the so-called 24/7 sobriety program for repeat offenders.

Data show DUI arrests in North Dakota have increased 53 percent in the last 10 years, including 6,600 arrests last year.

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