Key elements of Gov. Charles S. Robb's anti-crime package appear to be headed toward passage, but other parts of his program probably won't get the General Assembly's approval this year.
"We knew some of them would be difficult to get through," said Robb spokesman George Stoddart. "Some may require another year of persuasion, so to speak."
The governor did win three victories from the House of Delegates, which sent the Senate drunken driving proposals and bills to amend wiretap and arrest laws.
The drunken driving bill passed by the House would strip first offenders of driving privileges for six months to a year. Under the Robb-backed bill, sponsored by Del. Mary Sue Terry (D-Patrick), second offenders would lose their licenses for no more than two years. On third convictions, motorists would lose their licenses for life.
Currently, the maximum penalty for drunken driving is loss of license for six months to a year.
But judges have broad discretion and often enter "not innocent" instead of "guilty" on a defendant's record, or dismiss or reduce a charge on successful completion of a rehabilitation program. The bill would prohibit entering "not innocent."
The bill requires that a judge enter a conviction on a motorist's record, but would allow the option of not revoking the license if the defendant completes the rehabilitation program.
In other crime-related legislation, the House has passed a proposal by Del. James Almand (D-Arlington) that would allow warrantless arrests in assault-and-battery cases.
Another Almand bill sent on to the Senate would allow the deputy attorney general to request a wiretap, a request that now can come only from the attorney general. The bill also would extend the wiretap law to kidnapping and murder inquiries. Currently, wiretaps in Virginia are allowed for bribery and extortion cases.
Another bill passed by the House would increase the penalty for use or display of a firearm in a felony. Currently sentences can range from one to three years; the bill would allow a sentence of from three to five years.
The House, however, has killed Robb proposals to give police more power during search and seizures and to ease parole eligibility rules for nonviolent offenses.