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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 134205 Find in a Library
Title: Decriminalizing Drunk Driving: A Means to Effective Punishment
Journal: Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1991)  Pages:89-90
Author(s): H L Ross
Date Published: 1991
Page Count: 2
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The current system for handling drunk drivers, employing arrest based on probable cause, has proven to be generally ineffective in dealing with drunk drivers and should be replaced with punishment based on administrative procedures.
Abstract: A major problem with the criminal justice system is that it fails to deliver punishment to drunk drivers with sufficient certainty and swiftness to support the credibility of the deterrent threat. The primary source of difficulty lies in the enormous number of drunk driving violators compared with the criminal justice system's resources. Recently developed administrative systems appear to be far more successful in dealing with drunk drivers. These systems do not lead to fines and jail terms, but rather to license suspension and revocation. Typically, licenses may be taken for 90 days, not for the crime of drunk driving, but for the administrative offense of having been in charge of a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol concentration exceeding a tolerated limit. The license is often taken for a longer period if a person suspected of drunk driving refuses to cooperate in a chemical test for alcohol. The license is usually taken on the spot by the police, and all driving privileges are formally withdrawn after a short period in which police action can be appealed to an administrative hearing. From the viewpoint of certain and swift punishment, the administrative process is preferable to the criminal one. However, administrative license revocation laws have sometimes proven to be cumbersome for the police and confusing to the public because they are introduced into a situation in which the criminal process prevails and is not removed. If license action is to become the legal mainstay for social protection against drunk driving, it should be bolstered to deter the violation of restrictions. 2 references
Main Term(s): Drunk offenders
Index Term(s): Administrative adjudication; Crime specific law reform; Decriminalization
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