Many of the clients I work with are very embarrassed about their DUI situation. This is completely understandable. Often clients are angry at themselves, this too is an understandable outcome for those facing DUI charges. But the situation should be put into its proper perspective.
DUI arrests are very, very common.
1 out of 5 drivers will be arrested for DUI at one point or another.
40% of criminal prosecutions in the state of California are for DUI.
DUI fines, fees and court assessments are a major money maker for the cash strapped counties of California.
Why are DUI arrests so common?
Social Stigma with DUI’s
People have been drinking and driving as long as there has been alcohol and automobiles. In the past, there wasn’t the social stigma associated with drinking and driving that there is today. (Similar to cigarette smoking, drunk driving has become more and more socially taboo as time went on.) For good reason, drinking and driving are considered morally and ethically wrong due to the increased awareness of the harms that come from drinking and driving. Organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving MAAD work to keep the public aware of the terrible consequences that can result from someone getting behind the wheel of a car while impaired from alcohol.
Due to this increased social stigma of DUI, DUI enforcement became more of a priority for law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement listened to the public outcry against drunk drivers and stepped up enforcement of DUI laws as a result. So the changed perception of DUI is a big factor in the increase in DUI arrests.
Money maker for the state:
DUI’s are expensive for people facing DUI charges. The fines, fees, DMV assessments, court penalties, probation costs, alcohol classes and increased insurance rates are money makers for:
-The county where the DUI occurred
-Alcohol education and car breathalyzer companies
DUI is big business, so the incentive for increased DUI enforcement has led to the large, almost alarming proportion of DUI arrests.
DUI’s can happen when someone doesn’t feel drunk:
Another reason DUI arrests are so common is the simple fact that people involved in DUI cases are rarely HAMMERED or totally stone cold drunk. They often are “buzzed” and genuinely don’t believe they are impaired for the purposes of driving. This is problematic, because driving a car requires mental and physical dexterity that a “buzzed” person may find challenging.
Now you can see why DUI arrests are so common. With new legislation proposed to lower the legal Blood Alcohol Level limit, DUI arrests may become even more common. If you or someone you love has been involved in a DUI arrest, it is important to step back and look at the entire picture: DUI’s are common, they’re usually committed by people who aren’t criminals, and they’re a big mistake people can hopefully learn from.