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Appeals court upholds lifetime CDL suspension for second off-the-job DUI

The Idaho Court of Appeals has rejected an appeal from a Kootenai County man who said a state law removing his commercial driver's license for life after his second, off-the-job DUI constituted double jeopardy and excessive, cruel and unusual punishment. Steven Leslie Williams sued the Idaho Transportation Department, but 1st District Judge Lansing Haynes rejected his challenge of his lifetime suspension; a unanimous Court of Appeals upheld Haynes' decision.

Chief Judge David Gratton, writing for the court, found that the punishment wasn't excessive and it was related to legitimate legislative goals. "The reason for the deprivation is public safety, one of the legislature's highest priorities," Gratton wrote. "Removing a problem driver from the roadways in order to protect public safety is rationally related to a lifetime CDL disqualification for driving offenses occurring while driving a non-commercial vehicle."

Noted Gratton, "Williams chose to drive while impaired, endangering the public on two separate occasions. If Williams wanted to retain his CDL, he could have abided by the conditions placed on his CDL." The court also noted in a footnote that state regulations allow the Idaho Transportation Department to reinstate a lifetime suspension after 10 years, if the driver has successfully completed a state-approved rehabilitation program. You can read the court decision here.
 




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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