When a person has been convicted of drunk driving, the court system takes the charges very seriously. Often, the charges come with serious penalties, such as license suspension, heavy fines and jail time. However, attorneys and judges involved in such cases often make an attempt to balance these harsh punishments with other penalties that could be considered more rehabilitative — enrollment in Alcoholics Anonymous, for example, or a legal ban on future drinking. Shifting the sentence toward more rehabilitative activities may help to ensure that the drunk driving incident does not recur in the future.
A Maryland lawmaker recently received a mix of many types of punishment during his sentencing this week for drunk driving. Don Dwyer, a 55-year-old member of the Maryland House of Delegates, was given 60 days in jail for his role in a boating accident in 2012 and a DUI arrest a year later.
The boating accident resulted in injuries to five other people, some of them serious. After the accident, Dwyer was found to have a blood-alcohol content of .24, an amount three times the legal limit. During the legal proceedings that followed, however, Dwyer’s attorney produced five eyewitnesses who testified that the lawmaker was not responsible for the accident; rather, the other boater was at-fault.
Almost exactly a year after the boating accident, Dwyer was pulled over for driving erratically and given a DUI. This week, a judge sentenced him to 60 days in jail; however, in order for the man to continue to perform his necessary work duties, the judge stated that Dwyer may serve his sentence on weekends.
Dwyer was also given a number of other punishments intended to rehabilitate the man’s drinking problem. He was given three years’ probation in which he is prevented from drinking or from visiting any facilities that serve alcohol.
Dwyer says he intends to continue serving in the House of Delegates, noting that he has already completed a 28-day inpatient treatment program for alcoholism. His attorney noted that he will be able to serve the people of Maryland all the more effectively now that he is living a sober life.
WBAL, “Dwyer Gets Jail Time For Boat Crash, DUI” Robert Lang, Oct. 25, 2013