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There's nothing 'easy' about DUIs 

Santa Maria

As a member of the motoring public—and as a retired county prosecutor—I hope Matt Fountain's report (“Two in one,” April 19) serves to discourage readers from driving under the influence.

However, I don't agree that "it's relatively easy to find yourself a multiple (DUI) offender in no time at all." In fact, it's not so easy.

Not where fewer than one percent of all DUI incidents are detected and investigated by law enforcement officers. Not where every first-time DUI offender learns upon conviction and sentencing that subsequent offenses (1) pose great risks of serious injury or death to him/herself and others, and (2) subject him/her to harsh consequences, to include lengthy incarceration and many thousands of dollars assessed through fines, fees, and increased insurance rates. Not where a sentenced offender has abundant cause to recognize that s/he has an alcohol problem. Not where taxi cabs and/or sober drivers generally are available as transportation options for one who's been drinking.

Finally, for obvious reasons, no driver under the legal drinking age should find it "easy" to become a multiple DUI offender.

I know nothing more about the subject case than what Mr. Fountain has written. If, as reported, the subject defendant "believes that he got a raw deal" from being arrested and prosecuted for a second DUI on the same night, he lacks for perspective. The defendant should be grateful that both the tow service employee and a CHP officer acted prudently when confronted by the second alleged DUI incident. They may well have prevented him from injuring himself and other drivers that night.

Mr. Fountain's interview with CHP Capt. Bill Vail confirmed that it's rare for a driver to suffer two DUI arrests in one night. There's one other thing that any CHP officer as experienced as Capt. Vail could confirm, if asked—that he personally has investigated countless gory scenes in which a DUI driver caused totally innocent persons to be killed, or to suffer grievous injuries that will forever afflict and haunt them.

The defendant likely will hear some such testimonial in mandated alcohol classes. He'll do well to heed that. In retirement I'm thankful to no longer have occasion to hear an officer or victims—or survivors of victims—give heart-rending courtroom testimony about unthinkable harm done by a DUI driver.

Readers Poll

Do you think the SLO County Board of Supervisors should have gone against their policy that states funding for independent special districts should not result in a net fiscal loss to the county?

  • A. Yes, the housing and job opportunity the Dana Reserve is bringing is important
  • B. No, it's giving special privileges to the Nipomo Community Services District
  • C. I trust them, they know what's best for the county
  • D. What's going on?

View Results

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