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Maryland judge faces unusual DUI punishment after causing accident

Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is never an acceptable decision. Impaired drivers pose a serious danger to other motorists and are the cause of almost one-third of all fatal traffic accidents, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDCP also reports that, in the US alone, someone is killed by a drunk driver every 40 minutes.

Considering the known dangers of driving while intoxicated, citizens have a right to denounce anyone who is drunk behind the wheel; however, the crime seems particularly appalling when it is committed by someone entrusted with upholding the law and dutifully protecting the innocent. Perhaps this is why a Maryland judge's recent DUI conviction has received so much attention in the national press. The judge pled guilty to DUI after causing an accident last spring which injured a 25-year-old woman.

At the time of the accident, the Maryland judge blew a 0.18 in a blood-alcohol test, well over the legal limit of 0.08. After pleading guilty, he received a $1,000 dollar fine and three years probation. However, other sanctions have been added to his sentence in order to ensure that the crime is not repeated.

The judge has been ordered to attend a series of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and take a blood-alcohol test both before and during his daily work in the courtroom. A courtroom police officer supervises and records the results of the tests twice daily-at the beginning of the work day and after lunch.

Is mandatory AA counseling in addition to daily blood alcohol tests too severe a punishment for a first-time DUI charge? Or, considering the extreme risk their behavior poses to other drivers, should more DUI convicts be placed under similar constraints in the hopes of preventing repeat offenses?

Source: Bloomberg. "Judge guilty of DUI takes breath tests before work." Associated Press, 25 January 2011.

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