So if you want to kill someone and get a light sentence, get drunk and use your car

At least, that’s the message I’m getting from the sentences that people get for killing someone while driving drunk - five years? And out in 2 and a half for good behaviour after serving your sentence in a light security jail? Too bad the person you killed while driving loaded is dead forever. Maybe a legal type can explain to me why these sentences are as light as they are, because I feel like I’m missing something here.

IANAL, but I read in Wikipedia about a study of this subject:

So, moral of the story is:

Get drunk, run over a male with a rap sheet if you want the lightest possible sentence.

I wonder how this strategy would compare with the plan I am currently executing: not killing people.

Maybe I should do a study.

I’ll be damned. That’s quite a plan you have there. What were you thinking?

That is the most boring plan I’ve ever hear of. What a pussy!


What about just wounding them with the car? Is that a lighter sentence than killing them? I would love to wing some gangbangers and see em roll off the hood while I throw my empty whisky sour glass at their head.

I see a new version of drive-by shootings, here. Considering that these gunmen rarely seem to actually hit their target, I may suggest that this new method is probably a wash in terms of accuracy - big car vs. small bullet, but with the requirement of being drunk added.

It’s all kind of funny until you get hit by a car, or know someone killed.

But who is going to save all those plans that you are currently, and gleefully it would appear, executing? :eek:

Save the Plans!

Well, there are a few factors that are generally believed to go into all sentencing decisions, to greater or lesser extents:

1.) Protecting society from the criminal;
2.) Rehabilitation;
3.) Punishment/retribution; and
4.) Deterrance.

The logic of imposing a lighter sentence on drunk drivers would probably be something like: “These aren’t intentionally violent or career criminals, and so even modest sentences probably are about as effective deterrents as lengthy ones. In terms of public protection, we can get a lot more bang for our buck by restricting the drunk-driver’s ability to get a license after they get out than by spending lots of money to keep them locked up indefinitely - after all, you can sit next to a drunk driver on the bus without worrying about them stabbing you for pocket change. As for rehabilitation, drug/alcohol counseling can do a lot of good in a year or two. And as for punishment - well, prison is a bad place, and even a year or two in prison is pretty darned unpleasant.”

All that being said, I tend to agree with you - drunk driving is so easy to prevent, and so inexcusable, that I believe it should be punished quite harshly. In some ways, I’ve more sympathy for career criminals - who usually were dealt terrible hands by life - than I have for some yuppie idiot who plows his SUV through a family sedan. (Not that I’ve any great fondness for career criminals - but between the two, the idiot yuppie will usually have had more opportunities for better choices.)

A light sentence? Hell, get drunk and kill someone with your car and you can get elected Senator.

Or just kill someone with your car and become First Lady - AFAIK she wasn’t drunk, just maybe a bad driver?

Actually, there’s a very good chance that that move would carry a death sentence.

With the perpetrators of victimless crimes filling our prisons to capacity, of course you have to give some felons a pass.

I went to see a stage production of Chicago recently. I don’t know if you know/remember, but there’s a line where the lawyer Billy goes “and then I’ll tell the jury that taking your life won’t bring Fred Casely back! That’s always news to them.” Later, he delivers this line in court. “It won’t bring Fred Casely back!” and the whole courtroom gasps and clutches their chests in shock.

So what if the victim will be dead forever? What’s that got to do with how to punish and rehab the culprit? You don’t think that 2 years in prison is long enough to punish someone for an accident?

Every day at work, I review old court records and look at convictions for various crimes. If you knew how long people normally serve their sentences for other crimes like coke smuggling and burglary, and if you knew how often repeat offenders get probation, you wouldn’t reserve your ire for DUI manslaughters.

I’ve got plenty of ire to go around; we’ve just had a bit of a spate of news stories recently about people killing other people while drunk driving and this is currently raising my ire.

Yeah, I’m all for “not killing people while drunk,” but that doesn’t seem to be how it’s going. At this point we can all sing along with this news story; “While driving drunk without a license, Joe Schmoe killed an innocent person who just happened to be standing in the wrong place at the wrong time today.”

I get what you’re saying, Mr. Excellent, but I can tell you that if someone I love is ever killed by a drunk driver, and the drunk driver is out and free in two years, I’m going to have a really hard time feeling okay about it because they’re not a hardened, career criminal. I’d say that the sentences for drunk driving manslaughter aren’t working all that well in the area of deterrence.

But it isn’t an accident. We all know drunk driving is bad. We all know how to avoid driving drunk. And yet people still do it. It’s not because they forgot that they shouldn’t drive drunk, but because they simply don’t care.