Law would reduce time DUI stays on record

Published On: Mar 14 2014 06:21:58 PM CDT

A Wichita mother cannot believe how many Kansas lawmakers want to reduce the number of years a driving under the influence offense stays on your record.

Currently, a DUI conviction stays on your record for ten years. If HB 2662 passes, that would change to five years. Rep. Jack Thimesch, R-Cunningham, introduced the bill and says he was asked my multiple constituents to push it forward.

Thimesch says the idea started with a fireman who had two beers before getting behind the wheel. The fireman says his lights didn't come on automatically like they usually do and he was pulled over. Because of his DUI conviction, Thimesch says the man has been unable to get hired as a fireman again.

Thimesch says the bill would allow someone who made a mistake in their college years to move on and get a job later in life.

Robin Thornburg lost her son Kyle Thornburg and his girlfriend Kylie Jobe in 2011. "It's pretty devastating, you know. You never forget," said Thornburg.

A drunk driver going the wrong direction, with prior DUI convictions, and a blood-alcohol level three times the legal limit hit the Maize high school sweethearts head on. The crash killed all three. "Being pulled over is your second chance and you need to make the best of it," said Thornburg.

Rep. John Carmichael, D-Wichita, voted for the bill. He says having the conviction on your record for a decade, "may prevent them from obtaining employment, it may prevent them from being admitted into professional schools, universities, or a number of other things."

House members voted Friday 87 to 31 in favor of the bill. "Wow, those people don't have a clue. If they had gone through something maybe they would think different," said Thornburg.

Carmichael says the change does not mean lawmakers are weak on consequences. "The expungement of a DUI conviction has absolutely nothing to do with the penalty that is imposed for DUI," said Carmichael.

Eyewitness News went to Wichita State University to ask students how they feel about the possible change.

"I don't think 10 years is something that is really necessary. That is too extreme. I think five years would be a fair enough period," said student Dennis Sserubiri.

"I can understand being young and dumb, but with something like that you know before you get behind the wheel you're not supposed to do it," said student Melinda Sudbrink.

Carmichael says the bill is bipartisan and would bring DUI expungement time inline with other misdemeanors. "Although, very honestly, this may be a difficult vote politically, there are times in the Legislature when we come together and realize that some adjustments need to be made," said Carmichael.

"Sometimes you just kind of think they need to be in our shoes and maybe they would look at it a little differently," said Thornburg.

After easily passing in the House, the bill now moves on to the Senate.

A memorial run to remember Kyle Thornburg and Kylie Jobe will be held March 22nd at Maize High School. You can register for "Run to Believe" online, at the northwest YMCA, or Go Run Wichita.