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Tougher OUI laws go into effect

STATE WIDE (WGME) -- Maine's worst drunk drivers are facing tougher penalties starting Friday.

Felony convictions are going on driving records permanently. Before Friday, under Maine law, OUI convictions were washed out after 10 years giving the offender a clean slate.

Under the new law felony OUIs will be with the offender for life and can be considered if that driver offends again.

Cumberland County Sheriff, Kevin Joyce, says this law is really aimed at repeat offenders.

He says it is a felony if its a third offense or if it involves injuries, death or even having a child in the car at the time.

It's the seriousness of a felony offense, he says, that makes it especially important that they always officially count against the offender.

Joyce says: These are the habitual people that this really takes care of.  We want to get we want to get every drunk driver off the street but the reality is those that continue to violate shouldn't even be on the street.

Joyce says in the last 30 years around 40,000 drivers have committed a repeat OUI offense.

That's just the type of trend this law is aimed at stopping.