Lifetime Ban for Drunk Driving
Well, it doesn’t say the driver was drunk, and I’m guessing that there was an original charge of drunk driving that the prosecutor ended up dropping, but this kid sure smashed up his car, badly.
And so the Rhode Island judge banned him from getting a driver’s license FOR LIFE.
The first articles I read about the story bothered me—it sounded way too harsh. Then I read that one of his passengers ended up in a coma for weeks. No one died, but a week long coma?
What troubles me about the judge’s sentence is that he said he was doing it to “send a message” to others that Rhode Island doesn’t tolerate reckless driving.
That’s great, this teenager isn’t all those other drivers. He did what he did, and the punishment needs to fit his crime.
Banning people from driving can seem like a good idea because, theoretically, it keeps them off the road. After all, that’s what we want to accomplish.
In my limited experience, banning people from driving rarely keeps people off the road—it merely makes them repeat “criminals.” The people that suspensions and bans do keep off the road tend to be the people who learned their lesson and are not going to do anything stupid with their cars or while driving again anyway.
If this guy drives again while his license is still banned, he could end up in prison. If this guy doesn’t drive again, this act could possibly cause a detrimental impact on him for the rest of his life. If the injuries he caused to his passengers have long term detrimental impact, then maybe it is just and fitting to cause him problems for the rest of his life.
Also, I believe the Rhode Island law does permit a judge in the future to lift the ban and allow him to get his driver’s license again. Thus, if this guy rises above his past and proves he’s a responsible, hard working, diligent adult, then he may be able to see a little grace to soften the harsh justice his careless deeds ran him into.
I’m a bit torn about whether the punishment fit the crime in this case. I disagree that it’s appropriate to slam someone with a harsh punishment because the judge wants to send other people a message. Justice is about what the defendant in question did, not about scaring other people.