I recently blogged about how some lawmakers are pushing for new DUI laws that include public humiliation. As a PA DUI attorney who deals with DUI cases day-in and day-out, I feel that penalties like these will only make it harder for those who have made mistakes to integrate back into society. Take the example of new laws being proposed in Maine:
AUGUSTA, Maine — More than 8,000 Mainers were arrested for drunken driving in 2009, the most recent statistics available, and Rep. Rich Cebra, R-Naples, says Mainers should know who those drivers are.
“I want a website at [the Maine Department of] Public Safety that will have their names and addresses and their picture,” he said. “People need to know about drunk drivers that might be living next door and taking their kids to soccer practice.”
A DUI registry doesn’t make sense to me. Does knowing that the guy down the street had a DUI ten or even three years ago make me any safer or does it just make it impossible for that person to rehabilitate themselves or move on? There are many people who make mistakes and learn their lessons. This type of law will continue to punish them even after they have paid their debt to society. Some lawmakers agree with this:
Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, who served as secretary of state for a decade, said that while he supports the sex offender registry because of the nature of the crimes involved, he does not think a publicly available website listing those convicted of OUI would help with the problem of drunken driving.
One thing is for certain. As DUI punishment increase and common sense solutions disappear (such as treatment based therapy), more and more efforts will be made like these to ostracize folks. After all, DUI is the most politically charged crime in the United States today. Pennsylvania residents can be certain that unfair DUI laws like these will be proposed in our legislature as well. This is why the PADDDA is so important because it is a platform that opposes unfair DUI laws and will work to educate our politicians and protect the public.