Push to change state DUI laws when kids are in the car - CBS 5 - KPHO

Push to change state DUI laws when kids are in the car

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A weekend DUI arrest has a state legislator talking about tougher penalties for people driving drunk with children in the car.

Police in New London charged Kelsey Wolfe, 26, with DUI Saturday after she crashed into a parked car with a 5-year-old in her back seat. She was three times the legal limit.

State Rep. Al Adinolfi (R-Cheshire) said he has tried to push through legislation before that would increase penalties for people driving drunk with a child on board. However, he said it failed to get enough votes to make it happen.

"Had we had more time, we woulda got to it," he said.

People who spoke with Eyewitness News have mixed opinions.

"If you're gonna drive, drinking with a child in your car, that's very irresponsible," said Charles Sutton of Cheshire. "You're risking a child's life."

"I think it's a little extreme," said Jim Sillery of Watertown. "I think the DUI laws that are in place are stern enough"

Adinolfi said it's time to revisit his proposal after this weekend's arrest.

"Just by passing the law will prevent this from happening in many incidences," he said. "People will think twice before they go out with their kids and start drinking."

The legislator wants to model Connecticut's law after one passed three years ago in New York that makes DUI with a child in the car an automatic felony, and carries a $5,000 fine.

"They have a great record in New York," Adinolfi said. "They have over a thousand arrests. I think 314 convictions."

In Connecticut, if you drive drunk with a child in the car you can get the DUI charge, plus risk of injury to a minor, which is a felony. However, Adinolfi said that is up to the arresting officer and his proposed bill would make it an automatic felony.

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