Friday, May 27, 2005

Travis County Judge Suggests Confiscating The Car Of Repeat DWI Offenders

Memorial Day is notorious for the amount of drunk drivers on the road. Some are repeat offenders.

Now one Travis County judge says taking away their license isn't enough. What about taking away their car forever?

There is a law that reads your car can be forfeited on a third DWI conviction.

A first time DWI offense carries a punishment of up to six months in county jail and up to $2,000 fine. A second DWI is double the punishment and the fine.

A third DWI conviction is a felony costing you $10,000 and two to 10 years in prison.

"I've sent hundreds of people to prison for DWI," Judge Jon Wisser said.

Wisser has seen habitual drunk drivers with double-digit arrests. It's so common it doesn't surprise him.

"It would take above 20 to really surprise me. It's sad. It's unfortunate. I think the worst I've seen is 21," Wisser said.

A man with 21 DWI arrests was so shocking the judge kept the newspaper clipping for proof.

After 23 years as a felony judge, Wisser says we definitely need tougher penalties for repeat offenders.

"We need to take away their vehicles and make it to where they can't drive," Wisser said.

"I don't have much hope we can stop them from drinking, but you'd think we could stop them from driving," Wisser said.

The district attorney's office says it rarely makes felony drunk drivers forfeit their car because of some legal issues, but admits it could curb Austin's drunk driving problem.

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