When people criticize alleged drunk drivers, they often point out that it was a choice. They say that the person chose to drink and drive, putting others in danger. But is this a fair assessment? It may be in some cases, but not all.
For instance, consider that the fact that 14.4 million adults in the United States suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder. Those who are in the grips of addiction know how compelling it can be. In many cases, they’ll make choices they wouldn’t otherwise make. This could mean drinking too much, driving to the store to buy more alcohol after drinking or simply drinking too often and increasing the risks of a DUI.
In this sense, it’s not always a choice. If given a choice, they may clearly say that they don’t want to drink and drive — or that they just don’t want to drink at all. But addiction is a medical issue. It’s a disease. It overrides rational thinking and pushes people to do things that they do not want to do.
As a medical issue, what it really needs is treatment. Does it make sense to put people in jail when they have a disease? Or would they be better off with alternatives that can help them find the assistance that they need? If they overcome the addiction, that would solve the drunk driving issue because they’d be able to make proper choices again. It’s a more proactive approach than fines and jail time, which are just deterrents but do not address the real issue.
This is just one reason why those who are facing charges need to know their legal rights.