A recent survey has found that Georgia is the second toughest state insofar as DUI enforcement is concerned. As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, this is hardly a surprise.
The survey used criteria including penalties and prevention, although I question how "prevention" can be measured. According to the study, we are second in penalties and twenty-second in our ability to change citizen behavior.
What interested me is the inverse relationship between enforcement and recidivism. Every year our legislature meets and discusses how we can finally crack down on DUI drivers in Georgia, yet, we have now slipped to twenty-second in halting DUI.
The point here is that punishment does not necessarily result in decreasing the instance of driving while impaired. The solution to the DUI problem is more complex.
Like any other vice, a person will not stop it until they make the decision they need to change. When a doctor tells a patient that he needs to cut down on sugar or lose weight, no one can force that person to take better care of himself. It is a decision a person must come to on their own. Jailing a person for having a substance abuse problem is no different and solves nothing.
The solution is a positive program of change. The court system is poorly design to provide positive reinforcement, focusing only on punishment. The answer is a reverse incentive system that decreases punishment when a person makes positive changes in their life. Instead of increased punishment and lengthy license suspensions, how about reducing punishment upon completion of substance abuse counseling?
If we incentivize offenders, it could potentially lead to decrease in recidivism, From my point of view, improving from being twenty-second in repeat offenders is a much more noble goal than being second in punishment.