Drunk Report, Publishing Names of People Charged with Drunk Driving…What’s the Purpose?

If someone is going to get into a car, after going to party of having dinner with friends…is worrying that if they get pulled over and charged with drunk driving going to make them think twice?

First of all, just because someone is charged with operating under the influence – it does not mean they actually are, sometimes they are not paying attention and swerve – and get stopped.  Sometimes a plate light is out and they get stopped.  There are also many medical reasons why a person could appear to be drunk driving.

Second, I am not convinced that seeing a name in the police report does anything more than embarrass the person who is simply charged with an offense.

One thing that publishing reports of drunk drivers, whether they are found guilty or simply charged, is to make the District Attorneys and Judiciary very nervous about using their discretion to reduce a charge.  I’m not talking about someone who has been charged with a third offense drunk driving and had two previous offenses in the past few years, I’m talking about the lifetime look-back of Melanie’s Law.  This means if you are charged with drunk driving now, and you have a conviction or a cwof (continuation without a finding) in 1977, and the prosecutor has a copy of the conviction, you are technically not eligible for a first offenders program.  Now, there are certainly more factors that are considered in deciding on whether or not someone is eligible for a first offenders disposition, such as whether or not they completed a program the first time they were found guilty or admitted to sufficient facts.

The Patriot Ledger has a column, that it runs regularly, called The Drunken Driving Record, where names of people charged with a second offense or higher of drunk driving are published in the local paper.  I am curious to find out if it acts as a deterrent or simply puts extra pressure on prosecutors, criminal defense attorneys and the judiciary.

If you have been charged with drunk driving (operating under the influence of intoxicating liquor) contact me at 866-981-7888 or email me at jessica@jessicafoleylaw.com to set up a consultation.  At the Law Office of Jessica A. Foley we have the experience and expertise to handle your case.

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