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Should we punish the Sick? Why current DWI laws fail repeat offenders.

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WHY CURRENT DWI LAWS FAIL REPEAT OFFENDERS

Trichter & LeGrand DWI Lawyers

Recently, I read a story about a man who was arrested for DWI in Montgomery County.  

It was his 12th DWI arrest.  

There was some discussion in the media that the justice system should throw the book at this DWI offender. 

Ultimately, the man pled guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.

Reflecting on a person who had 12 DWI arrests, I wondered how it could have been possible to have a dozen alcohol related offenses occur. 

From my experience, I knew the sad answer. 

Regrettably, our criminal justice system is not set up to really treat people with addictions to alcohol or drugs.

I thought what a shame, that this sick man had not been diverted out of the criminal justice system and into the health care system where he belonged. 

Had he been placed in a real rehabilitation program before, instead of a real jail, then perhaps, his DWI offenses would have stopped at 2 or 3.

Our criminal justice system is supposed to be just. 

We are not supposed to punish DWI offenders because they are sick. 

People with addictions suffer great mental and physical compulsions to feed their habit. 

Addicts cannot be expected to simply turn off the compulsion part of their brain, absent help from mental health professionals. 

When I think of all the money wasted on processing this man through the criminal justice system, I am disgusted that the funding was not better spent on addressing the real problem and not the effect.

Of course, no one wants to have a drunk driver on the roads. 

It is not debatable that intoxicated drivers are a danger to themselves and others. 

It is not debatable that this ill person could have had a better life if he had been helped by the mental health system instead of shuffled through the criminal justice system.  

What do you think?

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An Overzealous Media and Ambitious Politicians Are Bad For Justice and Science

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AN OVERZEALOUS MEDIA AND AMBITIOUS POLITICIANS ARE BAD FOR JUSTICE AND SCIENCE

Trichter & LeGrand DWI Lawyers

The legal world appears always framed by the current hot social media case. 

Recently, America was divided by a Florida murder case that generated feelings of frustration on both sides of the issues of justice and race. 

Some folks felt like the system had failed while others felt as though justice was done. 

Many said they had a difficult time participating in the “legal wrangling” that took place because of the moral issues that were at play in the case. 

When politics drives the law, the end result is usually injustice.

Meanwhile, a man in Ohio pled guilty and was sentenced to a lifetime in prison for his involvement in over 900 charges of abduction, rape, and imprisonment of three women where many felt that the only appropriate punishment was death. 

The media covered these cases with great vigor. 

In each case, however, it appeared that the media attempted to create news instead of reporting it. 

Most of the coverage of the Ohio case was aimed at the horrific nature of the crime and respecting the rights of the victims while the coverage of the Florida case tended to be more inflammatory and attempted to build controversy from both sides.

We citizens, regardless of how the media portrays an event or how the politics of the situation are being spun, must remember that justice ought always rule the day. 

Politics, just like the media, often interferes with law as well. 

A couple of months ago, a report from the National Traffic Safety Bureau (NTSB) recommended that the legal threshold for breath or blood DWI alcohol levels be reduced from .08 to .05. 

Many politicians seized this opportunity to use the report to call for stricter laws in an effort to look tough on crime. 

Interestingly, not too long ago, the legal threshold for intoxication in DWI cases was.15, then .10, and then, .08. 

It is noteworthy that some states refused to reduce that number to the new recommended level of .08 from .10 until the government withheld federal road funding from them and forced their hands. 

Many described this withholding as political blackmail and correctly complained that politics was trying to change the laws of science.

Obviously driving while intoxicated is dangerous but the question is; “will this solve or even reduce the problem?” 

Some say that it will not. 

Others say that many innocent drivers will be wrongly arrested. 

Still others say why not just outlaw driving if you have alcohol in your body, i.e. just forget about impairment and make it illegal to drive after drinking.  

What do you think?

TELL US ABOUT YOUR CASE

Your Free Consultation Is Just One Form Away!

Form Submissions have a fast response time. Our attorneys are always on-call 24/7. The use of this form does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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