The Los Angeles DUI Law Blog

'Roger's Law' Passes Senate; Allows Offenders to Avoid Jail

The highly-criticized bill that would reduce or eliminate jail time for low-level misdemeanor offenders has passed the state Senate, despite some low blows and contentious debate, reports the Los Angeles Times.

The bill, referred to by Republicans in the Senate as “Roger’s Law”, would allow offenders convicted of misdemeanor offenses that require jail time to obtain work-release credits in exchange for engaging in activities that will help them reintegrate into society, such as job training, life-skills classes, and substance-abuse classes.

Much to the chagrin of MADD and others, this includes those convicted of driving under the influence.

The nickname of the bill comes from its previous sponsor, Roger Hernandez, the Democrat Assemblyman who introduced it. Ironically, about a month after it was introduced, Hernandez was arrested for DUI, giving opponents fuel for banter. Since then, Roger Hernandez’s name has been removed from the bill. Even still, it sarcastically carried his name during the debates.

The main argument against the bill was that it supposedly “decriminalized” offenses by allowing offenders to skip jail. Then again, “decriminalized” offenses, such as marijuana possession, do not carry a criminal record. These crimes still will.

Arguments in favor of the bill include potential savings, as the state’s budget shortfall and overcrowded jails are beyond the system’s resources. It could also be argued that job training and education classes will help reintegrate the offenders into society, and, reduce recidivism.

(Isn’t rehabilitation one of the major points of the correctional system?)

According to the Sacramento Bee, supporters included counties and sheriffs. The bill was opposed, not surprisingly, by district attorneys and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Related Resources: