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AB-974 Vehicles: driving under the influence.(2019-2020)



Current Version: 03/27/19 - Amended Assembly        


AB974:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  March 27, 2019
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 25, 2019

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2019–2020 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill No. 974


Introduced by Assembly Member Cooley

February 21, 2019


An act to add Section 23611 to the Vehicle Code, relating to vehicles.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 974, as amended, Cooley. Vehicles: driving under the influence.
Existing law prohibits a person who has 0.08% or more, by weight, of alcohol in their blood from driving a vehicle. Existing law also prohibits a person while having 0.08% or more, by weight, of alcohol in their blood from driving a vehicle and concurrently doing any act forbidden by law, or neglecting any duty imposed by law in driving the vehicle, when the act or neglect proximately causes bodily injury to a person other than the driver. A violation of either of these prohibitions is a crime.
Existing law requires the Department of Motor Vehicles to immediately suspend a person’s privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a specified period of time if the person has driven a motor vehicle when the person had a certain blood-alcohol concentration. Existing law also requires the department to suspend or revoke the driving privilege of a person who refuses an officer’s request or fails to complete a chemical test or tests, as specified. Existing law authorizes certain individuals whose privilege is suspended or revoked pursuant to that provision to receive a restricted driver’s license if specified requirements are met, including the completion of specified periods of license suspension or revocation and, in some instances, the installation of an ignition interlock device on the person’s vehicle.

Existing law authorizes a person arrested and charged with an offense to be released from custody, as specified, under reasonable conditions imposed by the court.

This bill would authorize a court to order participation in a “24/7 sobriety program” as a condition of pretrial release for a person who has been charged with convicted of a driving under the influence offense within 10 years after a previous driving under the influence conviction. The bill would define a “24/7 sobriety program,” in part, as requiring a person in the program to abstain from alcohol and unauthorized controlled substances and be subject to frequent testing for alcohol and controlled substances, as specified. The bill would require a person participating in the program to pay the program costs, commensurate with the person’s ability to pay, as specified. The bill would require the Office of Traffic Safety to include information about the program in the Highway Safety Plan and in any applications for federal highway safety grants.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: NO  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 The Legislature finds and declares the following:
(a) Alcohol consumption and driving under the influence impose enormous health and safety costs on California. Problem drinkers account for a disproportionate share of these costs. California has had success with its current approach to driving under the influence by lowering blood alcohol concentration limits and by focusing on reducing the likelihood that individuals drive while intoxicated. However, California has been less successful at targeting those with an underlying alcohol problem that makes them more likely to consistently drive while impaired.
(b) Those with prior convictions for driving under the influence are far more likely to recidivate than first-time offenders. Moreover, these people are disproportionately involved in alcohol-related traffic fatalities and are likely to have a diagnosis of alcohol dependence.
(c) In 2005, South Dakota started a pilot program called “24/7 Sobriety” and required those arrested for or convicted of alcohol-related offenses to take twice-a-day breathalyzer tests or wear a continuous alcohol monitoring bracelet. Those who fail or skip their tests are immediately subject to certain but modest sanctions, typically a day or two in jail. After a five-county pilot project, the program grew to include more jurisdictions and offenses. Studies have found that the total number of repeat driving-under-the-influence arrests in counties operating the program fell by 12 percent, and the total number of arrests for domestic violence dropped by 9 percent.

SEC. 2.

 Section 23611 is added to the Vehicle Code, to read:

23611.
 (a) The court may require a person who has been arrested for convicted of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153 to enroll and participate in, and successfully complete, a qualified “24/7 sobriety program,” as described in subdivision (b), as a condition of pretrial release on bond, if the program is available and deemed appropriate, and the person committed the current violation within 10 years of one or more separate violations of Section 23152 or 23153 that resulted in a conviction.
(b) For purposes of this section, a “24/7 sobriety program” requires a participant to abstain from alcohol or controlled substance use for a designated period of time. Testing for alcohol or controlled substances may be accomplished by twice-per-day testing at a testing location, continuous transdermal alcohol monitoring via an electronic monitoring device, or by any alternative method approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or the United States Department of Transportation. The “24/7 sobriety program” methodology shall be evidence-based. “Evidence-based” means the program methodology meets at least two of the following criteria:
(1) Evaluation research shows that the program produces the expected positive results.
(2) The results can be attributed to the program itself, rather than to other extraneous factors or events.
(3) The evaluation is peer reviewed by experts in the field.
(4) The program is endorsed by a federal agency or respected research organization and included in its list of effective programs.
(c) In order to enable all required defendants to participate, each person shall pay the program costs commensurate with the person’s ability to pay as determined pursuant to Section 11837.4 of the Health and Safety Code.
(d) The court shall not impose a program of more than 180 days in length unless the defendant tests positive for alcohol or an unauthorized controlled substance or fails to appear for a test.
(e) The Office of Traffic Safety shall include a description of the provisions authorizing a “24/7 sobriety program” in the highway safety plan submitted to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and in any applications for federal highway safety grants.