New Mexico lawmakers have decided that drunk drivers should be punished far more stringently that child molesters, rapists, and even some convicted murderers. Driving while intoxicated is a serious crime with potentially deadly consequences, and should of course be punished. The American justice system is designed to make the punishment fit the crime, a concept which appears lost on the elected officials supporting this legislation.
It is just common sense to punish felony cases where there is always a victim more harshly than misdemeanors crimes where no one goes to the hospital. Democratic elected officials in New Mexico are determined to try once again to reduce the mounting problem of drunk driving in the state. A worthy goal, but using government over-reach tactics to create a senseless new law is merely an exercise in futility.
If a pending law is passed, as it is expected to do, drunk drivers will be banned from purchasing alcohol ever again at a bar, restaurant, or store. The lifelong ban does not go into effect after a first offense, but New Mexico has some of the highest repeat offenders rates in the country.
Electronic anklet tracking devices for rapists, child molesters, and paroled murderers have been successfully fought by the ACLU for several decades .For some unknown reason, the American Civil Liberties Union has not expressed interest in the New Mexico DUI law thus far.
Drunk drivers in New Mexico have already found crafty ways to get around the breath test machines installed in their cars. The law which would prohibit drink purchases would likely be far easier to circumvent – teenagers have been doing it for years. It defies all logic to think that such a law would actually prevent a drunk driver from every having a sip of booze again.
There is of course a taxpayer expense associated with the proposed New Mexico drunk driving law. All driver’s licenses would boast a “do not sell” type symbol or text to alert bartenders, waiters, and store clerks about the individual’s criminal history. All patrons and customers would have to show their license before being served, regardless of age. For the law to work, every resident would have to immediately be issued a new driver’s license. Folks who do not drive would presumably have to purchase a state identification card.
It would likely not be difficult for the determined drunk driver to buy a fake out-of-state driver’s license and claim they are just visiting New Mexico. Spending time at a favorite local watering hole would be a thing of the past, but beer and liquor could still be purchased at various stores.
Strapping a tracking device to convicts who have killed or caused extensive physical and emotional damage to victims has been deemed an unconstitutional punishment. Unlike the New Mexico DUI law which will do little to nothing to prevent continued drinking by offenders, the tracking devices could prevent the destruction of more lives.
A tracking device would alert police officers if a child molester ventured near a school or park. Realizing when a rapist is in an area where an attack could occur would be a lot more difficult. But linking the convict to the crime scene when the rape occurred would make putting the man back behind bars a slam dunk. Infusing reason into the decision-making process of criminals is not a solid process, but fear of more jail time could also serve as a strong deterrent.
The desire to do something to combat a serious problem does not mean that lawmakers should be willing to vote for an illogical law just so they can pat each other on backs and walk away.
What do you think about the New Mexico DUI law?