New Tennessee DUI, immigration laws start this week


Web Editor - Jay Marchmon

NASHVILLE, Tenn - New Tennessee laws go into effect this week, and among them, two controversial ones.

One law stiffens the penalties faced by first-time DUI offenders. It requires offenders to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle. The lock tests the driver for alcohol intoxication before allowing them to start the car.

Trooper Ehrin Ehlert administrates the ignition interlock program in Tennessee. He says this law will become more of a deterrent because having to blow into a device before the vehicle will start is not only embarrassing, but an inconvenience.

In July 2010, a similar law was passed for convicted drunken drivers in four California counties, including Los Angeles.

The other new law requires local jailers to report illegal immigrants to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Department of Homeland Security officials. Some Tennessee jails were already involved with a voluntary ICE program that did the same thing. The new law puts the requirement into place in all cities and counties.

The requirement has come under fire from civil rights groups who claim the law is an unfunded mandate on local governments with no public safety benefit.


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