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Governor Gets Bill Authorizing Taking of Drunk Drivers' Cars

August 16, 1986|United Press International

SACRAMENTO — A measure authorizing the confiscation and sale of vehicles driven by felony drunk drivers was sent to Gov. George Deukmejian by the Senate with no votes to spare.

The bill by Assemblyman Byron D. Sher (D-Palo Alto) was passed on a bare-majority 21-8 vote in the 40-member Senate over protests by some lawmakers that it amounted to political grandstanding on a popular issue without doing anything to solve the serious problem of alcohol abuse.

"If this bill was to schedule (convicted felony drunk drivers) to go to AA meetings, I might vote for it," said Sen. Ed Davis (R-Valencia), who characterized the measure as "an asinine idea."

Sen. Ruben S. Ayala (D-Chino) countered: "If that same (drunk driver) had a loaded gun, you wouldn't take it away from him? An automobile is a 2,000-pound weapon."

The bill would authorize the court, upon the motion of the prosecutor and a declaration by the court that the vehicle is a nuisance, to order the surrender and sale of a vehicle used in the commission of felony drunk driving where serious bodily injury actually occurred and the driver had a drunk-driving conviction within the previous five years.

No vehicle would be permitted to be sold if it is stolen, owned all or partly by another person, or if it is the only vehicle available to the defendant's immediate family.

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