New California DUI Laws

Drink and Keys(BCN) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed three bills Thursday meant
to toughen California’s driving under the influence laws.

The bills would extend the length that a DUI conviction remains on a
driver’s record, as well as give more power to the Department of Motor
Vehicles for enforcing DUI laws.

Senator Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch, authored the bills after the
hit-and-run deaths of Danville brother and sister, Troy and Alana Pack,
in October 2003

Jimena Barretto, 45, has been charged with the deaths and was
allegedly under the influence when the accident occurred. Torlakson
alleges Barretto had a two-decade history of drunk driving
convictions.

"Nothing can change the tragedy endured by the Pack family, but these
new laws can help prevent similar accidents," said Torlakson in a written statement.

SB 1694 will extend the length of previous DUI violations on a
person’s driving record to 10 years.

SB 1697 will consolidate Drivers license restrictions and revocations
for DUI violators at the DMV. According to Torlakson, this would
streamline license sanction and reduce costs and workloads for
courts.

SB 1696 will force DUI treatment providers to send a certificate of
completion directly to the DMV.

The bills become law on Jan.1, 2005.

(Copyright 2004, Bay City News. All rights reserved.)


Two More DUI Bills Become Law

By Simon Read, Staff Writer

TriValley Herald

DANVILLE — The parents of two Danville children struck and killed
last year by a hit-and-run driver scored a personal victory on Thursday
when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law two bills aimed at
preventing drunken driving.

The laws, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, will impose harsher
restrictions on those who drive impaired or intoxicated. The legislation
was championed by Bob and Carmen Pack, who lost their two children to a
driver with multiple convictions for driving under the influence.

SB 1694 will increase the state’s statute of limitations on previous
DUI offenses from seven years to 10 years. SB 1697 will consolidate
driver’s license restrictions and revocations for DUI violators at the
Department of Motor Vehicles, thus streamlining sanctions.

Both bills were co-authored by state Sens. Tom Torlakson, D-Antioch,
and Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough. Last week, Schwarzenegger signed SB
1696, which requires DUI-treatment providers to send a certificate of
completion directly to the DMV.

"We’re very excited that the bills have passed and that the governor
saw the importance of all three bills," Bob Pack said. "I think it’s a
sign that our officials want to be proactive in making California a
leader in saving lives through stricter DUI laws."

The Packs played a pivotal role in getting the three bills introduced
back in February. They traveled to Sacramento and testified before state
officials regarding the events of Oct. 26, 2003.

The Packs’ children, Troy, 10, and Alana, 7, were killed in Danville
on that day. They were riding a bicycle and a scooter, respectively, on
Camino Tassajara when a Mercedes 300D jumped the sidewalk at Rassani
Drive, according to court records.

Alana died immediately. Troy died that night at Children’s Hospital
Oakland.

Jimena Barreto, 45, of Walnut Creek was driving the vehicle and left
the scene of the accident, records said. Police arrested her two days
later in San Jose.

Records said Barreto, a professional nanny, has two prior DUI
convictions

and was driving on a suspended license. A grand jury indicted Barreto
in May on charges of second-degree murder.

She also faces counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while
intoxicated, driving under the influence causing bodily injury, felony
hit-and-run, driving on a suspended license and possessing cocaine.
Barreto’s trial is scheduled to begin on Oct. 18.

"These bills (stemmed) from a horrible tragedy," Torlakson spokesman
Robert Oakes said Thursday. "This family that suffered an incredible loss
was willing to testify to state legislators. They went out so far."

Oakes said the new laws will eradicate loopholes that allow repeat DUI
offenders to stay on the road.

"If these laws had been in place last year, that woman would not have
been driving," he said. "But this is a reminder that when good people are
willing to take part in the public process, good things can happen."

Steve McKaskey, president of the Alameda County Chapter of Mothers
Against Drunk Driving, said the group supported all three bills
throughout the legislative process.

"We believe they will help reduce the death toll due to
alcohol-related crashes on our streets and highways," he said.

McKaskey lost his 22-year-old son, Matthew, in a drunken-driving
accident in Livermore that also killed two others in February 2001. The
driver, Nicole Le Freniere, 22, is serving a six-year term in Valley
State Prison for Women in Chowchilla.

The Packs, meanwhile, said they are not ready to sit back and relax
just yet. Already, they are hoping to introduce drug-reform legislation
next year.

"There is much more we can do," Bob Pack said. "I would like to say to
the governor that this is just the beginning. Next year, ‘I’ll be
back.’"

Staff writer Simon Read covers public safety for the Herald. He can be
reached at (925) 416-4849, or sread@angnewspapers.com.

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