The Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recently released their 2016 State Report, detailing how well each state in the U.S. is dealing with drunk driving and operating under the influence (OUI). Using a set of criteria, MADD assigns each state a rating out of five stars. Our state of Maine got a rating of three stars out of five.
However, the way that MADD hands out these ratings is oversimplified, overlooking the realities of how OUI laws and enforcement works, and how it should work.
Here’s why the 2016 State Report should be treated as the advocacy pamphlet that it is, and not as an objective rating of drunk driving in the United States.
In their 2016 State Report, MADD gives five topics with two issues each. Each issue can score a state half a star in the ratings.
One of these topics deals with Sobriety Checkpoints. MADD hands out half a star if a state conducts them, and another half a star if the state conducts them at least monthly. Of course, sobriety checkpoints are a serious constitutional issue. While the Supreme Court of the United States has deemed they don’t infringe on the Fourth Amendment, states are free to strengthen these rights in their own state constitutions. Many of them do. MADD, however, sees this expansion of our Fourth Amendment liberties – some of the most basic in the whole Constitution – as being a negative.
In another topic in their 2016 State Report, MADD deals with the penalties for refusing a blood alcohol content (BAC) test. States can score half a star for expediting warrants, and another half star for criminalizing a refusal, or for requiring an ignition interlock device. As we’ve said before, though, these refusal statutes have become so harsh that they also infringe on your Fourth Amendment rights.
Of course, MADD is an advocacy group. As such, they have their own agenda to push, and their sole job is to push it as hard as they can and use everything at their disposal to get what they want. That’s how these things work.
Unfortunately, what MADD wants is unrealistic and overlooks the fact that many OUI laws infringe on other, basic liberties. If MADD had their way, we would lose many of our basic rights, and would be even more vulnerable to police reaching into our lives and violating our privacy when we’d done nothing wrong. If OUI laws should be changed, they should be done reasonably.
Anti-OUI advocacy groups like MADD fight very passionately for something they feel strongly about. However, without reining them in, we could see our lives change drastically. That is why they should be called out for their radical stances on OUI offenses and drunk driving.
If you’ve been arrested and charged for OUI in Maine, OUI-defense attorney William T. Bly fights for your rights and interests both in and out of court. Contact his law office online or at (207) 571-8146.
If you are facing criminal charges in Maine, the attorneys at The Maine Criminal Defense Group are here to help. Call our office to speak with
one of our team members, who will discuss your case with you and set up a consultation with one of our attorneys
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