Sunday, April 01, 2007

All Must Heed DUI Penalties

The reported arrest of a City Council member on drunk driving charges should serve all as a reminder of the consequences of a conviction on such charges.

Unaware of the current penalties, this writer looked them up and saw that a conviction is a life-changing event. Penalties include mandatory loss of driving privileges, heavy fines, possibly jail time and community service. Look here for the full list.

Some of the fines go toward driver education and an evaluation of each individual to determine whether the person has an alcohol problem that needs treatment.

Obviously, not all who are arrested are convicted. It remains to be seen what the outcome will be for the councilman.

But for anyone who is convicted, the burden goes on for years in the form of surcharges and the threat of even heavier penalties for any future infractions. And while the excesses of celebrities seem to be a news genre unto itself, a lapse by an elected official is seldom laughed off by the public.

Until the matter is settled in court, we don’t know what it will mean for the councilman. But every driver who socializes at bars and parties can benefit from a review of the consequences of overindulging and getting behind the wheel.

--Bernice Paglia


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