Strict law results in decreased DUI arrests

By Dina Paluzzi

The decrease in DUI arrests made by DeKalb and University Police since 1986 shows the stricter law has had deterrent effects.

DeKalb County Police Lt. Kevin Hickey said he believes the law has been effective. “It seems to show up in people’s attitudes. People talk about it now,” he said.

The number of DeKalb arrests, not including those made by UPs, has declined from 365 in 1985 to 186 in 1986. So far in 1987, 104 DUI arrests have been made by DeKalb Police.

DeKalb Police Sgt. Robert McMorrow agreed the 1986 law has changed people’s attitudes about driving while under the influence of alcohol. “I feel the new law with stronger penalties is a deterrent. People are changing their habits,” he said.

During the 1984-85 school year, UPs arrested 19 violators. In 1986-87 the number of arrests decreased to 16, and so far, during the fall 1987 term, six DUI arrests have been made.

University Police Lt. Ken Kaiser said the law is an effective deterrent. However, he said a lot of the violators arrested for DUI by the UPs are not students but people passing through the campus.

UP Assistant Training Officer Al Ekstrom said, “People seem to be more concerned. They think more about it than before.”

A person is considered to be legally under the influence when the alcohol concentration, based on the ratio of alcohol to blood or breath, is .10 or more.

Under the new law, which went into effect Jan. 1, 1986, first convictions for DUI result in the loss of drivers license for a minimum of one year, possible imprisonment for up to one year and a maximum fine of $1,000.

Subsequent convictions result in the loss of full driving privileges for a minimum of one year, mandatory 48 hours in a jail or 10 days of community service for the second conviction in a five-year period, possible imprisonment for up to one year and a maximum fine of $1,000.