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Punishment for first-time DUI offense depends on where arrested

As reported in a previous post, Jalen Rose, a current analyst for ESPN and former NBA star, was sentenced recently to twenty days in jail after pleading guilty to a DUI charge. The charges stemmed from a DUI arrest last March.

As reported previously, Rose had taken responsibility for the charge of driving under the influence, but he and his attorney also questioned the judge's decision to sentence him to jail for the first-time arrest. Rose's lawyer says that his client has been active in volunteering and contributing to the community and should not have been sentenced to jail.

A recent article in USA Today, discusses how the punishment for DUI often has most to do with where exactly a person is arrested for the offense.

Penalties for DUI depend on where a person is arrested and sentenced across a given state and across the country. Rose was arrested in a Michigan town known for tough DUI penalties. Georgia is a state that requires jail time for a first-time DUI offense. One day in Georgia's case. Other states do not require jail time for first-time offenses, and still others do not treat first-time offenses as criminal infractions, but give drivers over the legal limit a ticket.

According to USA Today, the FBI calculates that the total number of DUI arrests each year in the U.S. is more than 1.4 million. Punishments vary from jail time to alcohol-abuse education to probation. Some studies have shown that jail time does not serve as a deterrent to prevent first-time offenders from driving under the influence again, and certainly not more than two weeks. Some people are advocating ignition interlock devices as a more effective way to prevent repeat drunken driving offenses.

Source: USA Today, "Drunken-driving penalties could depend on your location," John Wisely, July 28, 2011