Concerned DUI laws encourage drinking

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 9, 2014 

Recent events and personal experiences have caused me to have some serious thoughts in regards to alcohol. First we should recall the man under the influence that crashed his car April 4 after being chased by police near Bill McDonald Parkway. What if he had hit someone? The punishment would surely be harsher than the charges he is sure to face. But, how severe is a DUI charge, and how will that affect the rest of his life? Something that has become apparent to me is flaws within the current DUI laws. I do believe that these people deserve to be punished, but I think that the way we go about this is incorrect. The biggest problem I have seen is the seemingly eminent fall into alcoholism. This has multiple causes. First continuous drug tests for the length of probation leads to no other outlet. Second these people are forced to live without a license, leading them to be able to drink more and more. Another thing that I have seen is the feelings of hopelessness related to the debt they have caused themselves, making alcohol seem like a good out. Perhaps we can find a different way of punishing criminals. While I am not sure exactly what the change should be, I do know that one is needed. I think that it's important we start educating our citizens sooner on the effects of alcohol. We also need to make sure our laws do not encourage what they set out to curb.

Cassandra Zachman

Bellingham

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