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DWI alternative thinking

This post applies to current New Jersey DWI laws, but I suppose it could apply to any of the 50 states:

I had an idea kicking around for a while about how to increase NJ state revenue(or revenue for any state, for that matter), attack the REAL underlying problem concerning repeat offenders,
and lessen the draconion laws imposed by legislation.

For second or third offenders of DWI it's been estimated that between the convictions of first to second and second to third,
the driver had driven intoxicated HUNDREDS of times. To be clear on this point, I don't mean EVERY time they were falling down drunk, they could have had a BAC of .01 on up.
In my mind, it is insane for someone with a first DWI on their record to rack up a second offense; what knowingly sane person would engage in that behavior after going through the hell they did after the first one?
There is something going on underneath the exterior of the repeat offenders that scare tactics don't work on. Suspension for two years?
On paper it would seem to intimidate, but there is the percentage of motorists that will rack up a third or fourth DWI conviction after that. Why? Are they just masochists at heart?

The State of New Jersey still, in my humble opinion, doesn't have a firm grasp on the true problem. These repeat offenders have a sickness. A disease, if you will.
Looking upon the true cause of their behaivor as the illness that it is,
instead of locking these people up, leads me into my proprosal.

I propose a "traffic school" for DWI offenders. They have them for speeding where you can attend classes and get points taken off your license. Why not a scenario like this for DWI cases? I had the idea of a state-run facility paid for by the DWI offenders themselves,
whereupon they attend regular group therapy, meetings and educational classes (with qualified staff on hand that specialize in substance abuse).

Yes, I realize that a 16 week therapy course is assigned to second offenders upon assessment at the IDRC, but what's 16 weeks?
To someone who has a real drinking problem, 16 weeks is rubbish. I propose CONTINUED therapy, education and meetings in my aforementioned state-run facility.
As a side effect, the more you attend, the more your suspension gets lessened. And it attacks the REAL problem from a therapeutic base.
And since alchoholism is considered a disease, wouldn't medical insurance cover this plan as well as out of pocket?

Would this plan also not benefit the income revenue of our state as well? I agree, that on the surface, people would attend not to solve their real problems but to lessen their suspension time. As far as a revenue stream for NJ goes, I can't imagine a person with a two to ten year suspension NOT attending. However, I'm of the belief that over continued exposure to therapy and education, the offenders will make significant changes in their lifestyle and behavior.
Locking them up with huge fines and suspensions has proven to be not a significant deterrent to repeat offenders.

These are just the broad strokes of my idea, but I think you get the picture.
7 Responses
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717440 tn?1292743742
TOTALLY AGREE!!!! No matter where we are, DWI is unacceptable and should have REAL consequences. Jail time and a fines doesn't teach anyone anything, especially addicts/alcoholics... it won't stop them from using and driving. A sobering program would be awesome... and, Yeah!! make them pay for it, not us tax-payers (although I personally I would support that if they were solid results).

Good post Damien!!
Helpful - 0
611067 tn?1458591483
My father used to drink way too much and would drive that way.  One night, my cousin was killed by a drunk driver (at 16) while riding his bike home from McDonald's where he worked.  My father and step-mother were listening to the police scanner and heard every gorey detail.  They had no idea it was their nephew.  It turned out that my cousin was hit so hard with such force that it threw him off his bike and into the car.  But, his head was decapitated.  The head was sitting in the passenger seat of the drunk driver's vehicle.  It freaked him out and he parked the car somewhere and ran home.  The next day he turned himself in.  But, after hearing the details and seeing pictures later on of the crime, my father stopped getting behind the wheel drunk!  

Perhaps these offenders should be forced to view these types of things so that they can see what they can do to someone along with everything else you suggested.  

Very good post!
Helpful - 0
521742 tn?1255107015
I live in NY and we have a program sort of like that. Its called Stop DWI and my cousin was in there for 6 months and he is 2 years sober now!! He didnt go in there thinking he was going to stop drinking just thought it was better being in there than in regular jail and through the counseling he realized that he really did have a problem and wanted to stop!!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
This is the kind of thinking that seems to escape our Lawmakers (many with DUI's..) - - - It sounds fine, is not cruel nor unusual punishment, and even addresses the problem in positive and rehabilitative manner instead of purely punitive. I am all for it.
Helpful - 0
717440 tn?1292743742
I'm so sorry to hear about your cousin, yet glad it changed your dad.
I think you're right; if drunk drivers SAW what they were capable of doing behind the wheel, they wouldn't do it any more. Most people have the mentality that nothing will happen to them, but only to others.

Thanks for sharing your story.
Helpful - 0
495284 tn?1333894042
COMMUNITY LEADER
There used to be a judge here in Minnesota that would make the one convicted of a DWI sit thru autopsies......didnt matter if they passed out, threw up they stayed until the end.  He also had them go to counseling.  He is long gone now but he had the right idea.  This was the same judge who walked to work everyday......he lost his license for getting a DWI.  He never touched a drop after that.
Helpful - 0
717440 tn?1292743742
the judge had a DWI?? goes to show it can happen to anyone, eh?
also that it takes one to know one, so to speak... I really like his idea of making convicted DWI offenders sit through autopsies... most people need to SEE something before understanding it; doesn't matter how many times you tell them what could happen
Helpful - 0
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