This could be an emotional issue, one that is tough to argue for or against at the state Capitol.
State Rep. Culver Kidd, an independent lawmaker from Milledgeville, thinks those found guilty of a DUI charge should be given another chance. He’s now pressing others in the General Assembly to see it his way by introducing a bill that would remove the charge from an individual’s record.
Of course, as provided in Kidd’s measure now in the Georgia Legislature, the offer would not be available to just anyone. A person charged and found guilty of the criminal act would have to go a period of five years without being caught and charged with DUI a second time before the stain of past intoxicated driving incident is permanently removed.
Kidd makes a good case for the bill. He feels that an individual should not be punished for life for a single mistake or moment of misjudgment.
Those convicted of DUI, as Kidd points out, pay dearly for the offense. They are denied jobs that they would otherwise qualify for, lose any chance of picking up a scholarship and pay handsomely for the privilege of driving, and that’s if they can even afford it.
On the other hand, one might be inclined to ask what penalties and period of blame await anyone else who is found guilty of “attempted murder.” Isn’t that what drinking and driving is, the “attempted murder” of other motorists and their passengers who happen to be on the same road?
Legal minds and some state legislators, no doubt, see it differently. The same can be said of people who have actually lost loved ones in drunken driving incidents. They see it differently from legal minds and from those lucky enough to be caught before causing a major accident.
Legislators will have to think carefully about this one.