Since 1980, the penalties for the DUI charges have been increasingly made rigorous, thanks to the efforts made by the groups like Mothers against Drunk Drivers (MADD). Drunk driving is responsible for causing a death every 48 minutes in the USA. The severe penalties are envisaged to rein in the number of fatalities due to drunk driving on the roads.
Habitual Violator Laws
Most states enforce habitual violator laws that make the repeat offenders face felony charges. If an offender has been charged thrice for DUI, he loses his civil rights as well as his license.
The offenders now have to go through complex processes before they can prove their worth for reclaiming their licenses. They have to attend DUI schools or other educational programs. Additionally, they are required to undergo assessment interviews with counselors for deciding which other steps are needed to be taken for making them eligible for licenses again.
Mandatory Steps for Reclaiming Driving Privileges
If the offenders want to get back their licenses, they are compelled to follow the guidelines outlined by the counselor. Based on the assessment of alcohol addiction in the offender, he can recommend joining Alcoholics Anonymous or any other remedial programs. The recommendations may vary from attendance in 4-5 AA meetings for the first time offenders to 90 meetings for the repeat offenders.
Offenders Pay Dearly in Terms Of Money and Time
The penalties for DUI prove very expensive and time-consuming for the offenders. The probation costs, fines and fees for reissuing of the license amount to a big expenditure. Moreover, the costs increase with every repeat of the offence. Some states do not reissue licenses unless the offender guarantees an additional insurance coverage.
Making DUI Offenders Realize the Severity of Their Crimes
Apart from the financial costs that the drunk driver has to pay, the authorities are progressively taking steps to make the offenders realize the damage that they caused to the victims and their families.
In many DUI schools, the families of the victims meet the offenders and describe how their lives altered after they or someone in their family paid the price for the offender’s drunk driving. This step is especially effective in case of the repeat offenders.
Unless the drivers realize that drinking and driving do not mix, penalties and punishments alone cannot bring drastic changes in the drunken driving death statistics.