Originally Posted by infantrycak
Respecting your position, please spell out the sentencing structure you would suggest.
First time should be as harsh as you can reasonably impose without jail sentencing. I'm talking probation, community service, and mandatory counseling with some AA-type organization. Maybe make them go out and clean up some drunk driver accident sites. Second time should be jail. If you didn't learn your lesson from that first set of punishment, then you're not going to stop doing it. I don't know how long in jail, but assuming no injury to anyone, maybe 6 months. Once you get out, driving privileges should be revoked or severely restricted. If you fk up a third time, you go away for a long time - maybe not ten years, but a long time. If you injure and/or kill anyone in any of those incidents, there should be a separate crime and sentencing structure. Frankly, I don't find the punishment for intoxicated manslaughter to be harsh enough, but that's just me, I'm sure.
I agree there should be latitude in sentencing, as you alluded to above. There are very few, if any, things in life that I go zero tolerance on. But in the case of drinking and driving, that decision is made before you ever pour alcohol down your neck. We have fostered a culture in this country where it's OK to "just have a couple" and then drive home. The problem with that is you leave the judgment of whether or not impairment exists to the person who's impaired.
At the end of this all, people need to recognize that drunk driving is one of the biggest killers in this country, and it's not self inflicted. It's people deliberately choosing to risk other people's lives. That is unacceptable.