In Alabama and nationwide, MADD is spearheading legislative changes to increase penalties for drunk drivers. While reducing accidents and injuries is a positive step forward, the increased penalties, fines, and criminal sentences for offenders can make it difficult to get back on track. In many cases, a first-time offender may be only slightly over the limit or is convicted due to the inaccurate testing. In such cases, defendants need strategic and aggressive advocacy to prevent a criminal drunk driving charge that could carry significant and lasting penalties.
Since its founding in 1980, MADD has continued to raise awareness about drunk driving and has pushed through legislation to penalize drunk drivers. While the most recent focus is on mandating ignition-interlock devices for first-time offenders, the organization has a long-history of pushing through legislation to curb drunk driving.
Our Birmingham DUI defense attorneys are abreast of legislative changes that impact the rights of our clients. While we are respectful of groups looking to minimize accidents and injuries, we are also committed to ensuring that drivers are not wrongfully convicted or over-penalized for their offenses.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 28 people die every day in America as a result of drunk driving. The agency also report that one-third of drunk drivers involved in these crashes are repeat offenders. MADD has narrowed in on this statistic to prevent previously convicted drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel. According to the agency, mandating the ignition -interlock device is the nation’s best plan of action to eliminate drunk driving. The Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving launched in 2006 and has led 23 states, including Alabama, to pass the all-offender interlock legislation.
Since the founding of MADD, drunk driving deaths have been reduced by half. Other legislation that the organization is urging involves:
Sobriety checkpoints: The agency is pushing for other states to adopt and implement sobriety checkpoints. While they are one method of preventing drunk driving, some checkpoints infringe on the liberty of drivers and may violate Constitutional search and seizure law.
Ignition interlock devices: Ignition interlock devices for some offenders are already required in the state of Alabama. MADD is urging other states to adopt laws related to mandatory ignition interlock devices for repeat offenders
Stronger child endangerment laws: The organization is pushing Congress to increase penalties and strengthen laws surrounding DUI and child endangerment.
Repeat offender prevention laws: In addition to ignition-interlock device laws, the organization is urging Congress to pass nationwide repeat offender prevention laws, including harsh Zero Tolerance laws that could result in total loss of driving privileges.
Alabama already has strict drunk driving laws that can result in fines, loss of license and jail time. For repeat offenders, the consequences can be more severe. For individuals who have been arrested or charged with DUI, it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of your rights and obligations. Alleged drunk drivers should also be aware of changing state and federal legislation that could result in more severe fines and penalties.