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There isn’t a one-size-fits all punishment for repeat offenders

No matter where you stand on the issue, everyone can agree that drinking and driving is a problem in our country. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 30 people die every day in the United States in a drunk driving crash. These staggering statistics have left legislators scrambling to find quickly executable solutions. Many times, these solutions include serious penalties for those who drive intoxicated and even stiffer penalties for those who are convicted of repeat DUIs.

But is tougher legislation really the answer to curbing drinking and driving? While many politicians and anti-drunk driving groups like MADD say yes, there are others who believe that there are better solutions out there. In today’s post, we’d like to look at what repeat offenders say, particularly because they are the people who may have the most insight into a possible solution.

Though the data is nearly two-decades old, a study published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been able to point out the psychology behind the driving behaviors of convicted DUI offenders. As the survey participants explained, while some considered the fear of jail time and other penalties to be enough of a deterrent for future drinking and driving, others admitted that this was not always enough to cause them to avoid driving under the influence. But this wasn’t all.

Some respondents pointed out that things like personal support systems and sympathy within the legal system were major impacts on future drunk driving behaviors. On top of this, knowing that sobriety checkpoints were nearby or that there was a possibility of injuring someone else in an accident were also effective deterrents.

So what did the survey conclude? Well, as so many of our Leesburg readers know already, there isn’t a one-size fits all punishment that will effectively stop all repeat drunk driving offenses. As the NHTSA says perfectly, “No one countermeasure can be prescribed as the magic deterrent for all repeat

offenders because each person’s lifestyle, circumstances and personality traits are unique and

result in different reactions to similar situations.” This is something criminal defense attorneys constantly keep in mind when finding solutions for DUI clients. Why don’t politicians do the same?


Sources:  The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, “Impaired Driving: Get the Facts,” Accessed Oct. 27, 2015

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “Determine Reasons For Repeat Drinking and Driving,” C. Wiliszowski, et al, May 1996

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