New Kansas law strips probation opportunities for repeat DUI offenders, sets harsher penalties

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KANSAS CITY -- Tougher penalties are coming for DUI drivers in Kansas who cause great physical harm to someone else while driving drunk. It's good news for the parent of a local victim who says all repeat offenders need tougher punishments.

"He was working on a construction site down at 9th and McGee," said Avis Lowe.

In just a couple of months, it will be 20 years since Avis Lowe's son, Rob, died after being hit by a drunk driver.

"Yes, it was a person who had had several previous, so, no time is enough time, I can tell you that," said Lowe.

After losing Rob, Avis started working for MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

She says the new bill signed into law by Governor Sam Brownback is a step in the right direction for dealing with repeat DUI offenders.

It is called Mija Stockman's Law. It would consider past offenses, even if they’re misdemeanors as felonies when considering sentencing for DUI crashes that cause great bodily harm or disfigurement to another person. It happened to Mija Stockman in December 2013, as she was hit by a drunk driver on her way to work in McPherson, Kan.

"I mean this poor lady, they're fighting for her while she's still in rehab, and she's gonna pay for this the rest of her life," said Lowe.

The driver who ran into her, a repeat offender, served less than two years in prison. While it doesn't erase the crimes against Rob or Mija, the law could help people in the future.

"In the long run, they're gonna save some other people," said Lowe.

Mija Stockman's Law will ensure that repeat offenders in Kansas are not eligible for probation. The law will take effect on July 1.

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