New Hampshire lawmakers believe that the best way to stop repeat DUI offenders is to make the penalties steep enough that an offender will learn their lesson. When a person is convicted of DWI in New Hampshire it will be reported on their criminal record. If they are arrested for suspicion of DWI again in the future, police will look for to see if they have previously been convicted. If so, they will be charged with a repeat DWI offense. Depending on the number of prior DWI convictions a person has, they will face steeper penalties including increased jail time, longer periods of license suspension and higher fines. Lawmakers are always looking at how these penalties can be edited in order to discourage more people from committing repeat offenses. Repeat DWI offenders are a big concern. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) states that one third of people arrested for DWI are repeat offenders and statistically a repeat offenders are more likely to cause a serious or fatal accident.
A recent article in the New Haven Register takes a look at why punishing repeat offenders is not always as accurate as it should be. The main reason for this comes down to an individual's motivation. Different offenders report very different reasons for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The author talks about some of the most common reasons people continue to drink and drive even after being convicted of a DWI defense. One of the most common is addiction to drugs or alcohol. However, people also have been arrested for DWI because they reportedly did not know their limits and did not believe they were impaired or they did not think that they would get caught. Another common reason reported for drunk driving is that drivers feel that they have no other options for getting home or they need to get their vehicle back to their residence.
Because different people have different reasons for driving under the influence, it is hard to come up with a set of penalties that will provide incentive for all groups to stop drunk and drugged driving. For example, if all offenders are forced into rehabilitation for substance abuse, this will likely have a large impact on repeat offenders who are addicts but do little to stop drivers who drive under the influence because they do not understand do not think they will get caught again. Increasing DWI patrolling awareness, on the other hand, may stop those not afraid of getting caught but will not prevent drives who do not believe they are impaired from driving.
The key to stopping DWI once and for all is to make sure that people have a lot of options instead of driving under the influence. This is an very interesting point of view because if more research can be done to find out why people still drink and drive, more can be done to stop it by both increasing penalties for convictions and adding more prevention measures.