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Committee advances bill to make speeding alone not a jailable offense

The bill would make the charge of speeding alone a charge where the offender could not be sentenced to jail or prison.

(STOCK)

The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to advance a bill that would make speeding alone not a jailable offense. Senate Bill 232 is sponsored by Sen. Tom Whatley, R-Auburn, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“SB232 is a bill that says if you are charged with speeding you cannot be sent to jail for speeding alone,” Whatley said.

Rep. Jim Hill, R-Odenville, chairs the House Judiciary Committee.

According to the bill synopsis:

“Under existing law, unless otherwise specified, a person who violates a provision of the rules of the road is guilty of a Class C misdemeanor and is required to be punished by a fine or imprisonment. The amount of the fine or the length of imprisonment is conditioned on the number of prior convictions within the previous calendar year. This bill would specify that, with exceptions, if a person is arrested for or convicted of a speeding violation, the person may not be placed in jail or imprisoned solely for that arrest or conviction.”

Rep. Phillip Pettus, R-Killen asked: “Why did you pick speeding? Why not stop signs?”

“That is my bill. I picked speeding,” Whatley said. “If you want to introduce a bill on stop signs, then you introduce a bill.”

Pettus asked: “What if someone was going 140 miles per hour? Would that not be worthy of going to go to jail?”

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Whatley replied: “I don’t think you should go to jail for speeding alone.”

Pettus is a retired state trooper.

In extreme circumstances, the charge of reckless driving could be added, which would make for a potentially jailable offense. The bill was given a favorable report by the House Judiciary Committee.

SB232 can now be considered by the full Alabama House of Representatives. It has already passed the Alabama Senate on a 30 to 0 vote. Thursday will be day 23 of the 2021 Legislative Session.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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