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The Florida Bar

Mother's Against Drunk Driving Seek to Add to the Already Long List of Minimum Mandatory Sentences for First Time Offenders

Individuals convicted for their first DUI offense in Broward County are required, at a minimum, to serve six months probation, pay a $250 fine plus court costs, attend a Level I DUI class, and have their vehicle immobilized for ten days. In many cases, those convicted must also follow-up with treatment for alcohol dependency. As if that weren’t enough, MADD is now seeking for legislation that would require a first time offender to have what is known as an ignition-interlock device placed in their automobile. Currently, interlock devices are only used for repeat offenders and have been criticized for routinely malfunctioning and being an overwhelming embarrassment to those forced to utilize them. Interlock devices require the driver to blow into a machine before their automobile will operate. These devices must be leased by a private outside agency at a cost to the offender. The current state of DUI minimum mandatories absent this new requirement, places driving under the influence penalties at the top of the list for being the most numerous as compared to other offenses. The overwhelming amount of penalties imposed on an individual convicted for this offense has the effect of forcing people to take cases to trial that they would otherwise admit guilt to had penalties been reasonable. Such increased legislation has the effect of not only taxing our criminal justice system but effectively over-penalizes some individuals who simply made a mistake and are otherwise law-abiding citizens.

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