Drunk Drivers: How Stiff Should the Penalties Be? Essay
Drunk Drivers: How Stiff Should the Penalties Be?
Under current Texas law, drunk drivers can be punished severely after only one offense. However, some say it is not severely enough. Texas law states that first-time offenders (over 21) will spend a minimum of 72 hours in jail, pay a fine up to $2,000, and have their license suspended for 90 days to one year. These penalties increase with each offense, with third time offenders spending a minimum of 2 years in jail, paying a fine up to $10,000, and having a license suspended for 180 days to 2 years. However, some people advocate much harsher penalties. A person who is caught driving drunk is a danger to everyone else on the road.
Even a person who is mildly impaired is more likely than a sober person to get into an accident, and could kill someone. This is an incredible risk to take with other peoples’ lives. For this reason, Texas should consider stricter laws. Drunk drivers should not be allowed on the road after they have been caught for a long time, or until they have attended mandatory alcohol awareness classes (in addition to other penalties) so that they are less likely to drive drunk again. This will help prevent drunk driving because stiff penalties will make people less likely to drive drunk because they do not want to get caught and pay the consequences.
It would also prevent repeat offenders because the consequences would only get stiffer, and because the alcohol awareness training may educate people about how dangerous their behavior really is. Others, though, do not believe that stiffer penalties are necessary or even desirable. In Texas, anyone can be stopped under suspicion of drunk driving for any reason. If a person refuses a sobriety test, their license is automatically suspended for 180 days – even though they may not be drunk. Officers can also cite someone for drunk driving when their blood alcohol content (or BAC) has not reached the legal limit of .
08 if they feel the person is driving in a manner that is dangerous to others. This means that there is a lot of free interpretation of the law going on. Officers can technically cite anyone for drunk driving, whether they are legally drunk or not. This may lead to unfair citations. It will certainly lead to different interpretations by different officers, which means citizens are left to the “luck of the draw” on who pulls them over. This can create a very unfair situation. The problem with this unfair situation is that it may affect people who should not have ever been cited.
A person who has had one drink and is driving home from a bar may be cited his first time driving after having had any alcohol. The person may not be able to afford the fine, and because of the license suspension, may not be able to get to work to make money to pay the fine. This punishes people who were not truly a danger to anyone. Also, a number of drunk drivers are probably first-time offenders who likely had just one too many at a party, and didn’t realize they were drunk before getting behind the wheel. This law punishes those first time offenders very severely, with no recourse.
The law is truly intended to go after people who are driving very drunk, are a danger to themselves and others, and are repeat offenders. Many drunk drivers don’t fit into this category and are punished harshly and unfairly. The drunk driving laws in Texas should be thought about carefully before they are changed. There are many sides and points to this issue, meaning that it is not an open-and-shut case. Texas must examine scenarios carefully before making any decisions. Sources: http://www. texasdwi. org/law. html