Lawmakers add penalties for driving drunk with child in car

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Lawmakers have passed legislation to increase the penalty for being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child in the vehicle.

The bill heads to the governor. The General Assembly approved it as the session ended late Saturday.

The legislation adds an immediate license suspension and fine for a first offense. Currently the violation triggers an additional sentence of up to a year in prison that can’t be suspended or deferred.

A subsequent conviction would become a felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, license suspension, fines and other penalties.

State Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, a Providence Democrat, and Rep. Robert Nardolillo, a Coventry Republican, sponsored the legislation.

They say there needs to be more serious consequences for the offense.

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