Drunk Driving Is Not A Serious Offense

2224 words - 9 pages

Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) has become an issue of national concern, a both state and federal levels (2Githens and Sloan 403). Hearty fines, jail time and a revoking of the convict’s license follow most DUI offenses. DUI penalties need to be decreased and cause of conviction needs to be addressed, because people who are not criminals are going to jail, and enduring insurance fees even though these punishments have been shown to not decrease drinking and driving. Officers are given too much discretion to choose who get convicted, and who doesn’t, being convicted of a DUI can be life changing and should not be taken lightly.
Most DUI offenses are detected as a result of direct observation of suspicious behavior, which is up to the discretion of the police officer observing the situation. In police initiated stops, the officer is the only witness to see the violation and is given great power in deciding to pull over the driver or not (Mastrofski, Ritti and Snipes 113-148). The police officer also decides if the law will be enforced or not. The main issue with this is that discrimination could occur very easily, because police can be persuaded by certain factors, including race and gender, to decide whether to arrest the driver or not. Police ethnographies suggest that the decision to arrest for common offenses is viewed by officers as part of there everyday work, whereas their superior officers tend to view an arrest as a “product”, which contributes to the departments identity, its effectiveness, and efficiency (Mastrofski, Ritti and Snipes 115). Differences in views suggest that the officers out on the street are looking for people to pull over instead of looking for people that they can assist, as they should. Studies show that the characteristics of an officers department directly influence’s his or her DUI arrest productivity. For example, some departments push their officers to look for drivers who may be out of control due to alcohol, while other departments prompt their officers to look for dangerous situations or people on the road or streets. This makes a difference because in some areas of the country officers are just waiting to pull someone over, sometimes police officers have been seen sitting in hidden areas just waiting to “trap” people and pull them over. Officers need to be active when dealing with dangerous situations and their main job is to protect the public. Waiting and watching for someone to pull over is not being proactive in protecting the public, it is being proactive in meeting quotas for the year. DUI’s do not stop after the suspect gets pulled over, it continues in the courtroom where absurd penalties are given for an offense.
The Finnish Drinking-and-driving legislation act of 1950 was an act that greatly increased the maximum severity of prison sentences for drinking and driving convictions. Previously the maximum penalty had been two years in prison but was raised to four years, with...

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