What are judges and prosecutors concerned with on a DWI? One of their main concerns is recidivism. Contrary to popular belief, the average rate of repeat for a first time DWI is approximately 21%[i]. Most first time DWI offenders made a mistake and will never be back in the system. In fact, most are going to punish themselves far greater than what a court or prosecutor could do to them.
Does BAC (blood alcohol concentration) on their DWI predict their propensity to reoffend? The answer is “no.” A study published in 2013 in Criminology and Public Policy[ii] determined this. The interlock industry has managed to pass laws nationwide (including in Texas). Of those laws, many demand first time offenders to install an interlock system. This is overreaching for the vast majority of first time offenders. For example, Texas requires interlock as a condition of probation if a person’s BAC is .15 or above. Also, many judges order the devices as conditions of bond. However, this assumes that every first time DWI offender has a substance abuse problem.
The problem with punishment for first time offenders
Why Victim Impact Panels are not effective
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[i] S C Lapham, BJ Skipper, G L Simpson, “A Prospective Study of the Utility of Standardized Instruments in Predicting Recidivism Among First DWI Offenders”, Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 58(5), 524-530 (1997).
[ii] Dugosh, Karen L.; Festinger, David S.; Marlowe, Douglas B., Overview of: “Moving Beyond BAC in DUI: Identifying Who is at Risk of Recidivating,” Criminology & Public Policy, 12(2), 179 (2013)
[iii] Popkin, Carol Lederhaus, et al, “An Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Interlock Systems in Preventing DWI Recidivism Among Second-Time DWI Offender,” Cologne: Verlag TUV Rheinland (1993), Alcohol, Drugs & Traffic Safety T92 Ed.
[iv] S C Lapham, et al., supra note 1
[v] Shinar, D., Compton R P, “Victim Impact Panels: Their Impact on DWI Recidivism”, Alcohol, Drugs & Driving, 11, 73-334 (1995).