Drunken drivers with at least four convictions would spend more time in prison under a proposal that's passed the House.
Supporters contend tougher penalties are needed for repeat offenders, but opponents said more jail time won't deter the worst drunken drivers.
The House approved the proposal 57-6 on Thursday and sent it to the Senate.
Currently, the maximum penalty is three years in prison for seven or more convictions.
The proposal by Republican Rep. Vickie Perea of Belen would provide for four years in prison for a seventh conviction and 12 years imprisonment for eight or more convictions.
Drunken driving becomes a felony upon a fourth conviction and would be punished by 30 months in prison rather than 18 months currently. Penalties also would increase for fifth and sixth convictions.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.