Jalen Rose Sentence Shows Disparity Between States for DUI Convictions

As the Massachusetts DUI Attorney Blog recently reported, former NBA player and ESPN analyst Jalen Rose was sent to jail for 20 days in response to a March 11 DUI accident in Michigan.

His attorneys argued that the sentence was more excessive than sentences handed down in other DUI cases, both in Michigan and throughout the nation. A new report by USA Today shows that the attorneys are correct — where a person is arrested for DUI makes a huge difference about what type of sentence a person may receive.
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But also, who the person hires is important. Hiring an experienced Attleboro OUI Attorney who knows the system and has been defending clients for years can be a critical factor in how a case is handled and the sentence a defendant receives. Obviously, the facts of the case vary, but the penalties for OUI in Quincy and throughout Massachusetts can be steep:

  • Up to two and a half years of incarceration
  • Up to one year driver’s license suspension
  • Fines and fees
  • Completion of a self-funded alcohol education course

But it’s different in Massachusetts than in other states, the USA Today article reveals that not only do judges use their discretion on a case-by-case and city-by-city basis, but that states vary in the penalties for even first-time DUI defendants.

Experts cited in the article believe that jail time is less of a deterrent for repeat offending than sanctions such as the ignition interlock device, which includes a tube that convicts must blow into in order to start the vehicle. If the device measures higher than the state’s .08 blood-alcohol level content, it won’t start.

Rose was arrested in March in the Detroit suburb of West Bloomfield. Research shows that had he been arrested in other area cities he likely wouldn’t have faced any jail time. Rose crashed his Cadillac Escalade on March 11 and was arrested that day.

The case shows how different sentences can be for DUI, a crime that was responsible for 12,744 traffic deaths in 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. FBI statistics show that DUI is easily the most commonly filed charge, with 1.4 million people arrested each year for it.

Alaska, Tennessee and Georgia are among the states with mandatory jail time for first offenders, locking up defendants for three, two and one day, respectively. California, Connecticut and Indiana, however, don’t require jail time for first-time offenders.

In Wisconsin, a first-time offense for DUI isn’t even a crime. It’s a civil infraction that results in a ticket.

“There are no set guidelines on this. There’s no national standard on this,” said Alex R. Piquero, a criminology professor at the University of Texas-Dallas, who has studied drunken driving for more than 20 years. “There is a lot of discretion. It’s like a ref on the football field. Everyone holds on every play. Which one is the most egregious of the offense?”

Yet the trend is evident: Politicians continue to pass tougher DUI laws each year. We don’t know what the penalty for conviction will be next month or next year. But we can assume the sanctions will be more severe than they are today. Just one more reason it’s critical to fight DUI charges.

If you need to speak with an experienced Massachusetts OUI lawyer, call Attorney Michael DelSignore at 508-455-4755 or 781-686-5924.

More Blog Entries:

ESPN Analyst, Former NBA Player Jalen Rose Sent to Jail for DUI: July 29, 2011
Additional Resources:

Drunken-driving penalties could depend on your location, by John Wisely USA Today and L.L. Brasier, Detroit Free Press

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