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State looks at programs to reduce repeat drunk driving incidents

When a Pennsylvania resident is charged with driving under the influence, his or her life is immediately affected. A drunk driving conviction can result in loss of license, fines, interlocks on vehicles, probation or even time in jail. Most of the people who are arrested for their first DUI will never be charged with another incident again. However, statistics show that there are drivers that will be stopped again for driving under the influence. Officials from the state district attorney's association recommend adopting a new approach to reduce the number of drivers involved in repeat DUI incidents.

The traffic safety resource prosecutor is interested in programs used in others states in addition to the traditional methods of rehabilitation, such as loss of license or ignition interlocks. The programs focus on sobriety. Breathalyzer tests are required for DUI repeat offenders two times each day. If someone fails one of these tests, he or she would spend a short time in the county jail.

The program promotes accountability and is typically tied to a condition of pretrial release, parole or probation. When sobriety programs were attempted before, they ineffective because enforcement of the terms was difficult. With this new approach, consequences are immediate.

Another similar program was instituted in York County to combat the issue of people with multiple DUI arrests. Monitors that detected consumption of alcohol were placed on those who had been released on bail. The program was recognized for a 90 percent decrease in repeat DUIs. One drawback to the program is that it costs participants $12 a day for the monitor. Other counties in Pennsylvania continue to review programs such as this and plan to implement them in the future.

No one facing drunk driving charges wants to lose a license, deal with interlocks on vehicles or wear alcohol monitors. Certainly, the prospect of hefty fines or jail time is not appealing in the least. Anyone dealing with these charges will want to contact a Pennsylvania criminal defense lawyer at the first opportunity. A trusted attorney will work toward building a defense that will help clients either avoid a conviction altogether or minimize the negative impact on their lives.

Source: cumberlink.com, "Over the Limit: DUI solutions that target drinking not driving", Joshua Vaughn, Jan. 28, 2018

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