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Breathalyzer expansion proposed

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The Associated Press

SANTA FE — Advocates of ignition interlock devices to combat drunken driving want to expand the requirement so that convicted offenders have to install devices in their home to detect whether they’re using alcohol.

The proposed requirement would apply to offenders who claim they don’t have a vehicle and are not driving, said Richard Roth, director of Impact DWI.

As a condition of probation, they would be required to have a home Breathalyzer and blow into the device in the morning and the evening.

According to The New Mexican, the expanded interlock requirement would be the centerpiece of the Santa Fe-based advocacy group’s legislative agenda for the 2013 legislative session that begins Jan. 15.

New Mexico is among states that require an ignition interlock after a driver’s first offense, but Roth said half of offenders do not install them.

Roth said those offenders are four times more likely to be arrested again for DWI than offenders with interlock.

Peter Simonson, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the proposed requirement.

Meanwhile, Gov. Susana Martinez wants lawmakers to toughen DWI penalties
She said recently she wants an eighth and subsequent DWI conviction to be a second-degree felony, punishable by 15 years in prison. Martinez also wants felony DWIs to count toward habitual offender status.