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How many DUIs should someone be allowed before being sent to prison?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on December 18, 2005

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Photo of Stella Somiari

“Two. They should get a warning and then they have to go. DUIs are serious. They endanger their own lives and the lives of others.”

Photo of Doug Burkott

“I’d have to say about five really. If you’ve had that many, you’re just going to keep doing it until you kill someone or yourself.”

Photo of Justin Jones

“I’d say three, because two is completely ridiculous.”

Photo of Leah Bettinger

“I’d go with two. Drunk driving is a big offense.”

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trinity 12 years, 6 months ago

wow, don't tell me i'm first. maybe everybody wore themselves out yesterday?? ;)

on the dui question-i'm torn between two&three. the first one, likely an honest mistake; my bad,, don't do it again. on a second? hmmm-either very stubborn, very defiant of authority, or just plain have a drinking problem.

how about basing each on it's own merit? i mean, if somebody has a bac of say .08 or .09 each time, they probably aren't drunker'n that bily goat. however, if they blow .12 or higher, yeah maybe they've definitely got a problem. the breathalyzer would have to be mandatory, no refusal, refusal would land you in jail.

the thing i've observed in my work-where i deal with tons&tons of dui's!-is that, the regular everyday person who just whoopsies and gets a dui going home from a wedding party, a golf game, having a drink or two with friends-usually NEVER does it again. normal ordinary regular people-NORPS. but when it becomes a pattern&they keep showing back up in court? nahhhh, something definitely wrong, here.

i've made up my mind-two. :) oh and doug-you'd better take a look at your reply, FIVE??? something really wrong about that, dude.

quick ps-end PLEA BARGAINS, too!

trinity 12 years, 6 months ago

awww darnit lmao not first.

2 gets you mandatory minimum of five days in the county slammer, bthom...three kicks it up in to being a felony.

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 6 months ago

Add a time frame to it so that it would be if you get X DUIs in Y period of time then it's off to the penitientiary for you. If you go with just a flal number, like 2, it can lead to rediculousness. Feature this: Say I got a DUI when I was 23 and well deserved it blowing a .24 on the breath-O-lyzer. I feel remorse about the possibilities of what could have happened and for the next 20 years am very cautious about watching the number of drinks I have when drinking away from home. Then on my way home from an event where I was careful not to over indulge a car runs a red light and plows in to me. The cop smells alcohol on my breath, orders me to use the breath-O-lyzer, and I blow a .09, .01 over the limit. So my first DUI was at age 23, now my 2nd at age 43 - Does that make me a habitual violator? Do I deserve to go to jail? If you say yes you are a pinhead.

trinity 12 years, 6 months ago

azure, i totally agree with you...your post makes a lot of sense. i'd not considered that when i first spouted off! but you're so right. even though the court hates to hear it-i think each case needs to be more closely scrutinzed on it's own merit.

good to read e_m! ;)

enochville 12 years, 6 months ago

I am not sure what penalties are appropriate, but I want to put the fear of God into anyone who even thinks about getting behind the wheel drunk. Some posters talk about a 2nd DUI as if that was the second time they ever drove drunk. Really, people. They have almost certainly driven drunk more than 2 times; this is just the second time being drunk. And every time they drive without getting caught, they are made more bold and more likely to do it again.

I think after your second DUI within 7 years, you should have an image put on your driver's licence that indicates you have had 2 DUI's and it should stay on there for 7 years. Everyone should be carded ever time they buy alcohol and it should be illegal to sell alcohol to anyone with that image on their card. They should be treated like minors if they are even found drinking.

People who have had 2 DUI's within 7 years have demonstrated that they cannot be counted on to drink and not drive. Therefore, we will take away their priviledge to drink. Drinking and driving is a serious risk to the community.

Richard Heckler 12 years, 6 months ago

Number one gets a 6 months suspension of drivers license. $500.00 fine plus costs, forfeiture of tags,registration and mandatory cancellation of auto insurance.

Number two gets 1one year suspension of drivers license,forfeiture of auto tags and registration and mandatory cancellation of auto insurance. 2000.00 fine and 15 days. Mandatory attendance of AAA. If caught driving during this period: 1 year minimum security

Three or more same as number two in addition to 1 year in minimum security/detox treatment. Treatment is billed to defendant.

Grundoon Luna 12 years, 6 months ago

I like your numbers, E. I think your card idea is way too big-brothery. How about intense monitoring at their expense for a period on time after the first one. Send Breath-O-lyzer Bill around randomly. If they re-offended after doin' their time I think I would go for that. Taking driving priviledges away is not good enough. Not letting someone own a car probably isn't be even enough. Some co-dependent schleeb could just give you one anyway. Case in point, the gentleman who recently got out of prison for killing a woman back '99. His mommy provide him with the vehicle. Doesn't that make her responsible? Had 2/7 been in effect, he already would have been in jail. And why the hell did he get out? He took a life as a repeat offending drunken driver. I bet he's already re-offending!

Brian Laird 12 years, 6 months ago

"Mandatory attendance of AAA" - what are they going to do - make you look at maps and show you how to change a tire in the snow? Hi my name is Bob, and I have a flat. ;)

yourworstnightmare 12 years, 6 months ago

I think drinking/driving patterns should be correlated with other socioeconomic statistics, and those who are most likely to drink and drive should be pre-emptively imprisoned.

Fishman 12 years, 6 months ago

This is a tough subject, but also one that makes me think. I never got a DUI by the grace of God. I sure deserved one at least 1,000 times I would imagine. I'm not proud of it, but it's just fact. Back when I sobered up, we were taught that for every one DUI that is written up by police there are 87 others that are not. So they catch one drunk driver for every 88 that are out there. These are 15 year old statistics, but I still think most people are never caught. My drinking was mostly before the awareness of how bad it is for society. I also knew every back road in town. I kind of like the 2 in 7 years philosophy. I can agree with getting one in your early 20's when you're foot loose and fancy free, and then staying out of trouble for 20 years, and really don't cause society any problems. I do think that the mandatory days in jail right off the bat is a good thing to at least make one think about the consequences of driving drunk.
I haven't read anything about this yet, but what about if the offender also has another charge, say for domestic violence?? We all most likely can concur that these things go hand in hand sometimes. I'd say to also weigh any other charges when considering the first time DUI offender, or considering going light on the 2 in 20 offender. Just a thought. I thnk a judge does need some type of jurisdiction over individual cases without regard to whether the person charged is a friend of a friend of a friend.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 6 months ago

I am a member of AAA. I didn't know they had meetings. If I need a tire change in the snow, I'll just call them! That, or bat my eyes at the first able bodied teenage boy that goes by. I know this from experience as several years ago (when my kids were yet babes) I had a flat. Out on a country road not many people drive by and it was before EVERYBODY had cell phones. 3 grown men drove by and didn't blink. Then, to my great fortune, a teenage boy drove by. He turned around and came back to help me change the tire (I couldn't undo those lug nuts!) He wouldn't take any money from me but I did call the high school and informed them that they were in no way allowed to punish this good samaritan for being late.:)

leftwingfarmboy 12 years, 6 months ago

Criminalize all liquor and make pot legal. That would solve the whole thing...

jonas 12 years, 6 months ago

Maybe, instead of any sentencing, parole, prison time etc., it would be more effective to have DUI charged people navigate a OBSTACLE COURSE OF DEATH!!! (cue reverb and cymbal crash) where they would have to down like a 1/2 pint of J.Daniels or 6 beers or something and navigate a huge, extremely hazardous obstacle course. In my mind, it's on a high-altitude, narrow mountain road with cliffs on either side, and like crash-test dummies on guide tracks that leap out and are wired with high power explosives to detonate if they get hit, large boulders or trees that fall into the path, and other things of that nature. If they make it through then they are allowed to go on as they were, no fines or jail, but every followup offense the track gets much harder, and they have to go through at higher speeds (think the bomb on the bus in Speed where it arms and detonates when it reaches or falls below 50 mph). I think that this system would work pretty well, myself.

italianprincess 12 years, 6 months ago

I want to thank all of you who had words of thoughfulness this morning after reading my posts on the other two articles in today's paper. I need to get my son's car towed over here so I won't post the same words in here.

The guy who was drunk driving, hit and ran away this morning is still in jail. Both my son and his friend are feeling okay this morning so we will wait for a few days. The car is totaled, he only had liability so we are hoping this other guy has insurance.

Drunk drivers should get what I posted. Maybe even a few more things that others have posted also. What would make a person who had been drinking want to go out and play chicken with others in the snow? Can we all say.............@$$HOLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes I'm pissed and I have to go and get my son's car out of tow. Out car insurance will pay for the cost of emergency road side service and tow, but not for each day it sits there. University Tow is being cool. The charge for the two right now is $ 163.00 and another $ 40.00 to have it towed to the house. I guess thats not to bad, but my son is pissed that he has to pay for it. Our insurance company will pay him back so thats good.

Have a great Sunday everyone, drive safe, watch out for those drivers who think they can drink and drive.

beatrice 12 years, 6 months ago

How many times can I stand in the middle of town and shoot a gun into the air before I am jailed? Does it only matter if I happen to kill someone by this action? If I don't kill someone, why should it matter? Plus, the odds of me killing someone by shooting a gun into the air is pretty slim, really.

Now, doesn't the above seem ridiculous? Consider replacing "shoot a gun in the air" with driving drunk. People should not be allowed to drive drunk, not even once. If you get caught a single time, you should spend time in a prison. If you disagree, what if the first time someone drives drunk they kill someone? Should we ignore it because it was their first time? Write them a ticket and call it a day? Everyone knows the dangers and risks, so why should it be tolerated at all? Same with shooting a gun in the air.

I'm not suggesting a lot of time in prison, but if every person caught once had to spend a couple of days locked up, I guarantee the numbers of DUIs would drop dramatically. A second offense -- thirty days at least. Again, think of the gun analogy, and how long should someone who risks others' lives by shooting a gun randomly into the air in the middle of town spend in jail? Both put others' lives at risk, so why should one be considered the actions of a lunatic and the other be more or less socially acceptable?

Or we can go with jonas's obstacle course of death!

Harry_Manback 12 years, 6 months ago

It should be 2. Anyone who's a big enough idiot to still drive drunk after 1 DUI deserves to go to jail, even if it's only for a week. It costs so much money when you get a DUI, and it's just an inconvenience to not be able to drive, I can't imagine why you would risk a 2nd one.

They even make some people go to jail for a weekend if it's their 1st DUI if they have other convictions on their record.

My best friend got a DUI back in March, and she's spent about $3,000 so far on it and she has to get a ride everytime she wants to go anywhere, including work and school. Why after all that, would you still drive drunk?

Harry_Manback 12 years, 6 months ago

I was just thinking this was kind of messed up. You get caught with pot 2 times and you're a felon. You aren't considered a felon with DUIs until you have 3. Ummm...pot never killed anyone and DUIs kill thousands each year. Why are the penalties so much harsher for pot?

b_asinbeer 12 years, 6 months ago

Harry--"pot never killed anyone"

People have been known to drive while stoned and kill innocent people. Stop making things up.

kansas59 12 years, 6 months ago

1) 1st offense, a mandatory 30 day jail sentence, loss of license/driving privileges for 6 months plus a $10,000 fine. Get caught driving again within 6 mo.'s, go to jail for 1 year and suffer an additional $25,000 fine.

2) 2nd offense, a mandatory 5 year jail sentence and the permanent revocation of license/driving privileges plus a $50,000 fine. Get caught driving again within 1 year, lose vehicle and go to jail for 25 years.

3) 3rd offense, mandatory lifetime imprisonment and $100,000 fine. Failure to pay fine results in immediate implemantation of the death penalty by hanging.

No liberal artery clips needed...only the just deserts.

Alison Roberts 12 years, 6 months ago

i think its completely insane that younger people (18-24) who have had at least 3 DUI's should have a chance to get their license back after only a year.. (a friend of mine got hers back and is driving drunk--yet again)

it should be taken away after the first time for 2 years... thats a lil more stiff

Hong_Kong_Phooey 12 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps we should ask the woman who was hit outside of 'The Ranch' last summer. Oh, that's right. We can't - she was killed by a drunk driver and it was his first offense.

jonas 12 years, 6 months ago

b-asinbeer: Not so much making things up, but exaggerating. The wise amongst us know that, if stoned, you shouldn't drive until after you've played at least 4 rounds of Project Gotham Racing, or better yet, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. Get's you in the right mindset, you know.

corporate_sleaze 12 years, 6 months ago

I have driven after drinking as much as ten to twelve beers many, many, many times, never been in an accident, never been checked, never been stopped by cops when cops were directly right behind me. It just doesn't effect me at all. I can drive better after twelve beers than most "sober" people talking on cell phones.

Ceallach 12 years, 6 months ago

H_K_P makes a very good point, as have others. The first DUI usually means the first time they were caught! As the child of an alcoholic I don't fool myself into thinking I can be objective about this question. The penalities should be harsh enough that getting a DUI will not be considered a joke or taken lightly as something a person is entitled to do occasionally without ramifications.

Sorry, but don't think those who have received a DUI can be objective either. It's not a matter of being a good or bad person, it's a matter of being responsible. When one is irresponsible and drives after drinking there should be penalties. Pretty much like our other decisions.

mr_sassy_pantsss 12 years, 6 months ago

If someone insists on putting others at risk by drinking and driving, then it's probably for best to lock them up and just throw away the key.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 6 months ago

Agree with Enoch's 2@&@7 plan, except, second dui in 7 years, whatever vehicle the drunk is driving is immediately confiscated and disposed of unless it can be proven that the drunk stole it. if you give your car to an habitual drunken driver, you're going to lose it. don't just suspend/revoke the license/tags...take the car/murder weapon!

elsewhere I posted that my father died when I was 16, he was a dui, died instantly, head on colision nearly killed three illinois tourists on highway #1 (calif coast).
we are far too easy on dui's!

IP: go tomorrow to his 3pm hearing and keep on that process! you go!

good night all.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 6 months ago

DUIs are not just for driving drunk...people can be charged with DUI for being under the influence of any drug, including prescription drugs...

Now, what about all those people out there who are driving when they're too tired...they can be just as dangerous...

I agree with a lot of the posts...the first DUI is usually not the first time a person has driven while under the influence...just the first time they got caught.

dburkott 12 years, 5 months ago

Hey everyone who thought that 5 was too many? Well, I actually guessed the right answer...that's KS State law. If you don't like it, contact your state reps.

Lastly, I was not talking about 'spent a few days in the slammer'. That's jail, not prison. Prison means you get locked up for a while with people that will no doubt make you a worse person than when you got there. Is that fair to do to someone who only has 2 DUIs..perhaps years or decades apart?

Think about it....

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