A Burlingame man with eight DUIs still had a valid driver's license when he got his ninth in January because he apparently never hurt or killed anyone and many of his previous convictions were outside a 10-year cutoff period used by the Department of Motor Vehicles to assess drivers, a department official explained Monday.
Under California law, drunken drivers have to hurt or kill someone before their licenses can be permanently revoked, DMV spokeswoman Jan Mendoza said. Despite DUI convictions dating back to 1985, William Simon, 42, has nothing on his record indicating that he hurt or killed anyone while over the limit and behind the wheel, she said.
There is another route by which state officials can permanently strip repeat offenders of their licenses, but the driver must be deemed an alcoholic. However, drivers who lose their licenses this way can reobtain it if they prove they have broken their addiction.
"We have to leave that door open, because the condition could change," Mendoza said.
Many of you are wondering why give a person a chance to get their driving privileges restored, well a California DUI lawyer summed it up this way:
However, Joshua Dale of the California DUI Lawyers Association said people who get multiple DUIs need treatment. These people are alcoholics, he said, and the small number who repeatedly reoffend will not be stopped by the loss of the driving privileges.
"If they are going to drive (while intoxicated), they are going to drive without a license," he said of multiple offenders.