Last year I wrote a post on a proposed North Dakota law that would have required the drivers licenses of DUI offenders to bear an emblem that would prevent them from purchasing alcohol. The theory was that if convicted DUI offenders cannot purchase alcohol, there will be less repeat DUI offenses. It seems that New Mexico is following in North Dakota’s misguided footsteps with a proposed bill which would require New Mexico DUI offenders to carry a similarly branded license.
According to the New York Times, the bill came after State Representative, Brian Egolf, witnessed a man purchase a mini bottle of whiskey, pour it into a bottle of Coke, blow into his ignition interlock device, and drive away from a convenience store. The proposed law has gained popularity in a state that has one of the highest alcohol related deaths in the country. The law passed the New Mexico House of Representatives in a 59-to-5 vote. It has also since cleared a Senate committee.
Is such a law feasible? I doubt it. I tend to agree with Representative Antonio Maestas who characterized the law as a way to micromanaging alcoholism and criminalize addiction.
As was the problem with the proposed North Dakota law, everyone will be carded when trying to buy alcohol regardless of how old or young they might look. What’s more, anyone who sees the branded license will know why it has been branded. Buying alcohol is not the only thing that we use our licenses for.