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Raptakis proposing tougher DUI penalities

January 3, 2013

As Rhode Island State Police and other community organizations begin to crack down on drunk driving, State Senator Leonidas Raptakis (District 33 Coventry, East Greenwich, West Greenwich) is supporting the effort by introducing legislation to target repeat offenders.

Raptakis explained when he was a State Senator in 2010 he designed two bills to strengthen the state’s drunk driving laws; they were both passed by the Senate.

Although the bills were passed, he said he wants to introduce new legislation that includes more penalties for repeat offenders.

“At the same time, part of the legislation is to try and get these people off the streets and get some counseling as quickly as possible,” he said. “You can’t solve one problem without solving the other.”

Raptakis said he made it his priority to introduce this package of bills after he heard about a West Warwick man who was arrested three times in five days for driving under the influence.

According to a press release from the state police, Robert F. Levesque, 54, of 12 Hopedale Drive, West Warwick was arrested on Dec. 31 for driving under the influence, refusal to submit to a chemical test and driving on a suspended license.

He was found by police slumped over the driver’s seat in his vehicle in the middle of the roadway on Pond Street, West Warwick.

Once at the Wickford Barracks, police found that Levesque had been arrested by West Greenwich police on Dec. 27 and Dec. 28 for driving under the influence as well.

According to the Rhode Island courts website, Levesque was also arrested in April 2012 by East Providence police for driving under the influence.

“The application of the previous law should have taken this person off the street,” Raptakis said. “He should not have been driving after the second time being caught. He should have been arrested and charged with a felony.”

He explained that he is puzzled how an individual can get arrested three times in less than a week on the same offense but still be released from jail.

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