I lived in California whenMADD was young. They truly effected DUI enforcement and sentencing then and I’m sure now.
Circa 1982, Names changed because I can’t remember the real ones.
Sit right back and hear a tale A tale of Stupidity and Redemption.
A mighty lad was laid low by love: His lady fair dumped him for another. Our hero held on with help from friends and strangers but liqueur’s call held sway in the end.
So our hero found himself, one sad, self absorbed, self pitying, Saturday evening the Guest of the CHP, San Joaquin County, Stockton, Armpit of California. A night in the local hoosegow was enlightening, but the local justice system was more so.
After posting bail, young Matthew consulted a reputable attorney schooled in these matters. (For a surprisingly nominal fee.) Mr. Blount Esq. advised him thus. "Show up in court, clean, well mannered, contrite. Plead guilty and wait for sentencing. (Your BA was what?) "You should receive a fine of $200 - $400. You will be sentenced to 30 days in jail, suspended on good behavior. You will have your driving privileges revoked for six months. Ask the judge for work privileges (you can drive to and from work only and drive for work only.) Do Not Abuse the Privilege. "You will be ordered to a diversion program where you will be encouraged not to drink and drive again. Upon completion of this, and good behavior for two years, (don’t get caught driving drunk again) and your record will be expunged. " Esq Blount further advised that if any more severe punishment were imposed, Young Matthew should immediately shout “Shenanigans” and request a legal reprieve and consult Esq. Blount further. It came to pass the a court date was set and our young miscreant was set a court date. He arrived dressed for the occasion, full of trepidation and no shortage of nervousness. He had never in his 24 years been in a courtroom for any reason. He had been in the principal’s office a few times and once been reprimanded by a Major of the US Air Force, but never had he appeared in a Court of Law. Now the good Judge obviously knew his constituency. The first cases called were those of individuals with counsel. Counsel with good reason. Our first case was a Mister Jose Rodriguez, charged with felony drunken driving, aggravated by being the third drunken driving charge against him. Not to mention driving on a suspended license, said license suspended due to past drunken driving offenses. Three years in state confinement was the sentence. Young Matthew and a few other offenders in the room came close to soiling themselves. The second case was called and Mr. Pedro Hernandez was likewise sentenced to a term in the state penitentiary, able counsel notwithstanding. Affairs continued in this vein for over two hours. Each defendant stood in front of the judge and plead guilty to a varying list of charges, all including driving under the influence and aggravated by being multiple offenses, most suspended for said prior offenses. Our arbiter was a man who took his position seriously. No scofflaw would exit his courtroom easily. The first offenders sitting behind the multiple offenders could only pray the Hanging Judge would take pity on them. When came the first of the first timers, all eyes were lasered on the the proceedings. Mr Jorge Hernandez plead guilty and the others held in their breathing , waiting to hear the pronouncement from the bench. Thirty days in the county jail, suspended, driving privileges suspended for six months, diversion program, $200 fine plus court costs. Mr Hernandez must have consulted Mr. Blount as well. By the time our hero was called it was obvious His Honor had made a point of bringing the most serious offenders up first, the better to impress the first time dummies of what lay ahead if they continued their drunken ways.
(And yes, 90% of the accused were Rodriguez, Hernandez, Colon, etc…
Racial, population, whatever, that’s the way it was.)
Young Matthew was very impressed. He has never driven after drinking again. Thirty something years later, that event lingers.