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July 26, 2006

More discussion of leniency for drunk drivers

In this post a few months ago, I pondered why so much more attention is paid to sex offender sentencing than to sentencing for drunk drivers.  In Minnesota, however, the Pioneer Press is taking a close look at drunk driving sentences in this article, entitled "State easy on drunk drivers."  Here is a snippet:

In a majority of cases, judges across Minnesota break with state sentencing guidelines when it comes time to lock up drunken drivers convicted of criminal vehicular homicide.  Five years after a Pioneer Press investigative report highlighted the pattern, courts continue to give most defendants hefty breaks from their presumptive prison terms. The courts opt instead for shorter jail or workhouse sentences and lengthier periods of probation. That trend holds true even in some cases where the defendant fled the scene of a fatal accident or has a history of drunken driving.

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July 26, 2006 at 07:46 AM | Permalink


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How odd. Minnesota has one of the lowest incarceration rates overall of any state in the Union, but it also has one of the highest percentages of persons in prison for offenses classified as "traffic" offense. In truth, it is probably one of the toughest states on drunken driving, at least relative to other offenses, in the nation.

Posted by: ohwilleke | Jul 26, 2006 4:51:32 PM

The furor over drunk driving is just the temperance movement in modern guise. As many people die every year from "driving drowsey" as from driving drunk, but we do not here a moral outcry over sleeply people on the road. Driving is just really dangerous. Being drunk or tired or distracted or handicapped or stupid can all make driving more dangerous, but none of them change the fact that were talking about accidents - things that people did not intend. It's only when "demon rum" is involved does the puritan, knee-jerk, anti-fun crowd come out and start screeching about the evils of drunk driving. The point is that it's about foisting one groups morality on another's, not saving lives. If it were about saving lives we would see the same moral furor over drowsey driving, distracted driving, etc.

Posted by: Jacob Johnston | Aug 20, 2006 9:17:56 PM

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