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In Howard County, MD
A Howard County man who pleaded guilty to driving while impaired after he struck and killed a 16-year-old bicyclist has been sentenced to six months in jail.
September 30, 2010 in Crime, Fatality | Permalink
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I don't know much about law, but that sounds like a really, really lenient sentence for a poor choice made by an individual that resulted in loss of life.
Is this standard for people killed by drunk drivers?
September 30, 2010 at 07:17 AM
I'm glad he got a conviction - but I agree, for killing someone while driving impaired (according to the linked article, on heroin) this seems low.
Apparently life is cheap in the US?
September 30, 2010 at 07:25 AM
OTOH, it is better than the $320 fine for "sorry I didnt see him," out in St. Mary's County.
September 30, 2010 at 08:35 AM
I really don't know what an appropriate sentence would be for this, but I'm wary of the idea that longer terms of incarceration are the magic bullet to dealing with crime. The US has become the most incarcerated country in the world and, as far as I can tell, it hasn't solved our problems. (Although I suppose it could be argued that the problem is that we're punishing the *wrong* offenses: "victimless" drug crimes, etc.)
As long as the sentence is not suspended, 6 months is certainly not a slap on the hand. Even with short sentences, offenders run a good risk of losing their jobs, etc. On the other hand, there *was* a death and I have very little patience for DUI.
I just took a look at the Wikipedia article on drunk driving in the US:
It makes for interesting reading. The UK and Australia have much lower DUI rates and their policies are different in several ways: more random DUI checkpoints, more efforts at public, incarceration on the first offense, and... curiously... *less* severe penalties for DUI resulting in death.
I'm not sure what to make of this, but one possible explanation is that drivers may be aware that they're over the limit but believe that they're not impaired enough to have an accident. Thus the deterrence effect of DUI manslaughter is minimal. And as long as the DUI penalty itself is fairly low, drivers may be willing to take the risk.
What is interesting about the examples of the UK and Australia, is that they suggest that the most effective policies may *not* be the ones that seem to assuage our hunger for "proportional" justice.
September 30, 2010 at 08:59 AM
The sentence doesn't bother me, its the fact that he'll be driving again in a few years. We should be welcoming him to the biking community, for the rest of his life.
September 30, 2010 at 09:57 AM
I'm with guez and longley. Both the UK and Australia drink more than the USA, but have less fatalities. In Australia it is combination of more active enforcement plus serious penalties, including life time bans. When did you hear of a life-time ban in the USA?
September 30, 2010 at 12:00 PM
September 30, 2010 at 12:34 PM
Replace "welcoming" with "confining"
October 01, 2010 at 07:25 AM
That would make sense if biking were punishment
October 01, 2010 at 03:21 PM
this driver knew He did not have the proper license CDL drove a flatbed truck kill this little girl that was getting off a school bus in White Plain.Received no jail time at all nor was deported as a foreign. That bother me. He still driving.(class 5 license) This seem an insult to the family and that little girl. The victim is been victimized again.
November 27, 2010 at 12:29 AM
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