Clearly a bad choice, no question. If you drink, donÂt drive. We all learn this from a early age. It is sensible, logical and reasonable. HoweverÂ
What is unfortunate is the politicisation of what is, in most instances, a fairly minor offence. Consider the push by such right wing and deeply rhetorical organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). For all the good they could do, they have, in the minds of most center thinkers become nothing more than a fringe, militant lobbying group. If they had it their way, drunk drivers, regardless of whether an injury or accident occurred, would be subjected to the harshest penalty Canadian courts could inflict, 25 years in prison. In fact, penalties for driving with a blood alcohol level about 0.08 mg/ml have increased exponentially over the last forty years, as have the incidences of drunk driving. So the easy conclusion is that increasing punitive measures does not cause a decrease in drunken driving events. MADD and similar groups are constantly exploiting the legitimate losses of families across this country to insist that individuals convicted of driving with a blood alcohol level above 0.08 should be forever prevented from driving and spend the rest of their lives in jail. Emotions have no place in discussions concerning citizenÂs liberty. We live in a society were freedom allows people to make horrible, stupid and often tragic mistakes, but the solution is not to incarcerate everyone. Here is where the exploiters of alcohol related injuries scream, yell, threaten and rebuke anyone who would even consider lighter sentences for DUI offences.
First of all, there is something called the Harm Principle and it may be a fundamental principle of Canadian law. The idea is simple, if a particular act does not hurt someone, it is not criminal. To me this makes sense and could and should be applied across the gamut of criminal law. You donÂt restrict someoneÂs liberty for thinking, talking or suggesting. You donÂt incarcerate individuals for things that might have happened, but did not. Frankly, I am deeply affected by the fact that we live in a country where the police can arbitrarily pull you over and demand that you take a breath test for the presence of alcohol. Alright, I can accept that if one wants to drive, we must subject ourselves to certain limits, such as speed and courtesy. But in all other instances of rules governing the road, you must first commit the offence and then be observed committing the offence before you can be charged. For some reason, although speed is far, far, far more important factor in vehicular death then alcohol, alcohol holds a special place in Canadian criminal law; ingestion and operation alone are enough to make you guilty. At least with drug laws, they have to find it on you.
What is a better way to stop people from operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs and alcohol? Its so simple....repeated public humiliation. It works, ask Rob Lowe.
How does drunk driving compare with offences like assault, attempted murder, and possession of crack cocaine? Well, a drunk driver is, on a third offence sentenced to not LESS then five years in jail. If you commit manslaughter with a firearm, 4 years; hide the body of dead child, 2 years; poison someone? 2 years; disarm a police officer, 5 years; even committing a sexual assault with a gun...4 years. Find a criminal code and take a look at some of the sentencing provisions for different crimes...it will blow your mind. For even more fun think of a crime, guess the punishment and then look it up.
This link is the complete Criminal Code of Canada. It takes about 20 seconds to load....
Bringing you hypocrisy for 3 years...