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Diageo Praises Massachusetts Legislature For Strengthening Drunk Driving Laws And Urges Governor Patrick To Sign The Bill

BOSTON, July 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Diageo, the world's leading spirits, wine and beer company and industry leader in promoting responsible drinking, applauds the Massachusetts Legislature for closing a loophole that allowed for the reduction of  license revocation penalties for repeat drunk driving offenders.  The legislation is included in the House and Senate's proposed FY 2013 State Budget. 

"If passed, this legislation will mark significant progress in Massachusetts' fight against drunk driving, and we applaud the Legislature for their efforts," said Dwayne Kratt, Senior Director of State Government Relations, Diageo North America.  "Across the country, drunk driving statistics have shown milestone improvement over the past several years. While there is still much work to be done, these improvements show that when law enforcement, the justice system, legislators, and the industry unite behind this critical issue, we can make a real difference. We urge Governor Patrick to sign this bill into law in an effort to help Massachusetts continue to combat alcohol-impaired driving."

The proposed legislation addresses loopholes that became evident following a recent decision by the state's Supreme Judicial Court.  The loopholes were utilized by repeat drunk drivers who were able to avoid license revocation by leveraging the inconsistencies in the law.  Specifically, the court held that people who were arrested for drunk driving and subsequently pleaded to "sufficient facts to warrant a guilty finding" were not considered to have had a conviction when the case was "continued without a finding" by the trial court.  The second loophole allowed people arrested for drunk driving to attend an alcohol or substance treatment facility in return for a continuance, and they would not be considered to have had a conviction.  The new language would consider both of these circumstances a criminal conviction and would therefore trigger driver's license suspension.

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