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BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Maine will begin enforcing stricter penalties for those caught with OUIs Friday.

Under the previous law, authorities could not use a felony OUI conviction that is 10 or more years old against a person while considering punishment for a new offense. This new legislation allows for those older convictions to be considered.

Prosecutors said this new policy doesn't affect that many people, but they feel it will make the state safer.

"There are people out there who do this offense over and over again. If it just happens to be more than 10 years old, they shouldn't be treated as a first offender...they should be treated as a repeat offender," said Chris Almy, Penosbcot District Attorney.

The bill was written in reaction to a crash last August in Biddeford. David Labonte of Biddeford was accused of driving drunk and hitting a family riding their bikes. He had been convicted of drunken driving four times, but none of the convictions were close enough together for a court to take away his license.

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