Alaska Gov. Signs Bills to Toughen Penalties for Identity Theft, Drunk Driving

July 19, 2005

Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski has signed into law a pair of bills intended to address problems associated with identity theft and drunk driving.

Since taking office, the Murkowski administration has hired more than 34 additional state troopers, toughened the state’s bootlegging and DUI laws, closed legal loopholes that have allowed criminals to avoid prosecution and made other enhancements intended to keep Alaska communities safe.

“Our shared commitment to a safe and secure Alaska is evident in the bills that the Legislature approved this session,” Murkowski said. “These bills will make our justice system more responsive to those affected by crime, make criminals more accountable for their actions and ensure that the voices of the victims are heard.”

House Bill 131, sponsored by Rep. Bill Stoltze, increases the penalties for certain types of identity theft involving credit cards, ATM cards and I.D. cards. The bill, which is supported by the AARP, raises the penalty from a class A misdemeanor to a class C felony. In addition, it now becomes a class C felony to steal more than $50 by such means instead of the previous threshold of at least $500. Class C felonies can be punishable by sentences up to 2-5 years in prison.

House Bill 136, sponsored by Rep. Norman Rokeberg, would require judges to impose a mandatory fine for DUI offenses. But it provides judges the ability to suspend up to 75 percent of the mandatory fine for DUI offenders who complete a rigorous 18-month therapeutic treatment program.

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