People Charged with DUIs Deserve Opportunities for Reform

The criminal defense attorneys at McNeely Stephenson said that too many people who have made mistakes are being punished well beyond a reasonable period.

New Albany, Indiana, July 12, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Driving while intoxicated is a common yet sometimes serious criminal charge. Though the problem of drunk driving is well-known and relatively widespread, the attorneys at Kentuckiana criminal defense law firm McNeely Stephenson said that people still deserve redemption for their mistakes.

“There is little sympathy for people convicted of a DUI,” said Marc Tawfik. “Depending on the state in which one lives, one could face consequences for a bad decision for an entire decade. It’s worth asking whether this is an approach that encourages people to reform themselves.”

McNeely Stephenson represents clients in Indiana and Kentucky, the latter of which has lengthened the so-called look back period from five to 10 years. In other words, if you are convicted of a DUI in Kentucky, that charge must stay on your record for 10 years before it can be expunged. The attorneys said that this is a serious challenge for people to turn their lives around.

Driving while intoxicated is a serious violation of our law,” said Larry Church. “Our collective goal should be preventing drunk driving. By making it harder for people with DUIs to move past their mistakes, we’re effectively making it more difficult for them to get jobs, find housing and receive an education. That’s not a path to redemption.”

People with a criminal record not only face legal punishments for their crimes, they also face difficulties in many of life’s opportunities, including loans, education, housing and employment. These are known as collateral consequences, and many criminal justice reform advocates believe that these difficulties make it more challenging for someone to move past mistakes they have made.

The attorneys at McNeely Stephenson said that reforms aimed to deter drunk driving, such as Kentucky’s extended look back period, make the path to redemption unreasonably difficult.

“There is a deep stigma against people charged with drunk driving,” Church said. “Like anyone else charged with a crime, they will be punished. What we want to avoid is making the justice arbitrarily harsh for some offenders and not for others. Everyone deserves a chance to reform themselves, including those convicted of a DUI.”

Larry Church
McNeely Stephenson, New Albany

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