INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 25, 2013, 10:05 PM

With one signature, tougher DUI penalties will take effect

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Soon North Dakota could enforce stiffer DUI laws, which is a huge win for families fighting drunk driving.

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Soon North Dakota could enforce stiffer DUI laws, which is a huge win for families fighting drunk driving.

But some are saying this is just a small step towards the bigger picture.

It's been a long battle for Lynn Mickelson. Who lost his pregnant daughter, Alison along with her husband and 18-month-old baby girl after a drunk driver hit and killed them.

Today Lynn Mickelson is still tearful, but this time he's crying tears of joy.

It's been a long road.

Lynn Mickelson, Father of Crash Victim: "It started July 6th of last year."

But it's just the beginning for Lynn. He's been working alongside senators and representatives across the state to make sure what happened to his family doesn't happen again.

Mickelson: "Higher fines, confinement issues and education of course."

New measures were approved unanimously.

Mickelson: "They are a lot stiffer than what we've got."

But dropped many proposals like Wayne Stautz's.

Wayne Stautz, Fighting for Stiffer DUI Laws: "The deterrent part of it is gone, I think."

Who hoped marking offenders driver's licenses to keep them from purchasing alcohol might teach them a lesson. That didn't fly with legislators.

Stautz: "I think they could do better."

Representative Ed Gruchalla proposed harsher punishment for drunk driving in Senate Bill 22-40. That was killed back in March.

Today we talked with Gruchalla, off camera, who says this is just a "feel good" move for legislation and said it's "not going to do much" for first-time offenders.

Mickelson: "It's a whole lot better than what we had."

The new DUI laws will implement higher fines, jail time or community service for first-time convictions. It also calls for mandatory attendance for the 24-7 sobriety program for repeat offenders.

For Lynn Mickelson, it's a start in the right direction, but says he's far from finished.

Mickelson: "No, the work is not done. It won't be done for a long time."

The bill still has to be signed by the governor before it takes effect.

Tags: