Dear Mr. Jensen,
Your article on drunk driving was quite interesting. This woman was convicted by a jury without any evidence except hearsay. There was no proof that she had been drinking or under the influence of drugs. No blood test was given for the drugs or alcohol. No breath test was given. In an accident such as this everyone wants someone to blame. Before this woman was sent to prison for 30 years I would want to make sure I knew for a fact she was under the influence. What if, because of her history, she was convicted. This was tragic and she will have to live with this for the rest of her life. I too agree that if she was under the influence she should be punished. Should she be punished longer than a rapist of a brutal murder? We keep calling for stiffer punishments for DWIs but only the selected get tickets. Many so-called upper classes socialize every weekend and never seem to get caught. The police know where these parties are and know how the people leave. Did you know that most people would fail the legal limit after drinking a few drinks with a meal and not even feel any effects. If caught you lose your license no matter if your impaired or not unless you have money to get a very good lawyer that has good relations with the prosecutor who will in turn reduce or throw it out.
What about jobs after you make a mistake? You can't even take your child to school? So you have taken the offender's way to work and get their children around. You have fined them, required them to have special insurance, to go traffic class and now that they are penniless, jobless, can't take care of their children, and depressed, society thinks they have helped them. We have now really given them lots of reasons to drink. Only money can help you with this situation. We will work with drug offenders and offer all kinds of assistance to keep them from jail. Make meth and we will slap your hand but have a couple of drinks and drive and we will lock you up, take your license, give you a big fine, and keep this on your record for life. Drug offenders get probation two and three times or charges are dropped if they name someone else.
Driving while intoxicated is wrong. We all know it and many do on numerous occasions then point the finger when someone else gets caught. Man of us could say "there but by the grace of God goes I. DWIs seem only to greatly affect the low and middle class people around here. This says something about our police and judicial system. When money matters in your degree of punishment the judicial system is just as bad as the defendant. Oh yes we call for stiffer punishment because we think that can't happen to us, I know someone in the right place.
By the way, I have never had a ticket in my life but have observed what this can do to a young person that has just made a bad judgment.
Editor's Note: You ask about the California case and wonder if the woman was convicted because of her past driving record. The answer is obvious - of course three prior DWIs were factored into her sentence. And then you ramble about how the privileged go unpunished by the lower income suffer the tough sentences. Well that argument is often repeated but seldom proved. Granted, a good lawyer can go a long way toward arranging counseling, community service, stiff fines, etc. But regardless of your income level, I would assume that a fourth DWI that involved two deaths would result in a lengthy prison term. If you have evidence to the contrary, prove it.
You talk about the hardships of prison. Well kindly remember the family that lost two children to this drunk driver. Where the heck is your compassion toward them?
And by the way, I too have never had a drunk driving ticket.