Is it time to abolish the habitual motor vehicle offender law in Tennessee. the habitual motor vehicle offender law was enacted to prevent people with qualifying  criminal convictions from driving. A petition to declare one a habitual motor vehicle offender based on the number of DUI convictions as well as other driving offenses such as driving on a revoked driver’s license. Once you were declared a habitual motor vehicle offender, it was a Class E charge if you got caught driving. A Class E felony charge carries one to six years in jail.

Why should Tennessee abolish the habitual motor vehicle offender law ? The answer is easy. Require ignition interlock devices. Several years ago the Tennessee state Legislature passed one of their better laws allowing anyone with a revoked license to apply for a restricted driver’s license with an ignition interlock device (IID). The benefit is twofold. First, people would be driving legally and with the IID. It would prevent more DUI arrests. It would also promote sober driving. Studies show the use of the IID have a lower recidivism rate than those that don’t use the IID. Secondly, It would decrease incarceration rates and save those jail cells for those of convicted of crimes.

I would invite my friends at the state legislature to look into the issue. Would we rather ban someone from driving for three years in Tennessee when we know they are going to drive anyway or should we make the roads safer ? Give me a call. I would be happy to make some suggestions. Some progressive district attorneys are working with defense lawyers to solve the problem. It is time to revisit the habitual motor vehicle offender law.