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Tougher DUI Penalties Open the Door for New Businesses

Mon, Oct 22, 2012

Criminal Law

HandcuffsSociety has begun to grasp the serious consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol in recent years. Many jurisdictions have passed laws providing that states can seize vehicles, imprison repeat offenders, and mandate expensive treatment programs for defendants convicted of driving under the influence. Even first-time offenders will face a criminal record, high court fines, and increased insurance rates. Responsible drinkers have no interest in driving drunk, but getting home can be challenging.

In past years, intoxicated individuals without designated drivers would simply call for a taxi to bring them home. Unfortunately, this requires leaving the vehicle at the bar, and drivers who will have need of the vehicle shortly after sobering up may not have access to it when they need it. According to our Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer, drivers who consume alcohol in the evening and who have work in the morning will often risk the drive home, foregoing the hassle of coordinating with friends or relatives to get the vehicle back.

This has led to the rise of designated driver services in most major cities. They come in different forms.

For Profit Services

For-profit service providers charge a fee to get the client and his or her vehicle home. The first form involves sending a car with two occupants and having the passenger from the service drive the client home with his vehicle. This is the most common form and is available to anyone.

Another form involves a single person on a bicycle or scooter driving to the location, loading up the bicycle or scooter into the client’s vehicle, and driving the client home. When the client gets home, the driver retrieves his or her vehicle and goes home. This requires the client to have a vehicle large enough to hold a scooter or bicycle; clients with a small car may not have this option available to them.

Nonprofit Services

Some services do not operate with the primary intent of generating a profit. Nonprofit services often provide benefits in a manner similar to standard companies, but at a reduced or eliminated cost to the client. Some of these companies operate normally, but some are specific to restaurants. Such programs save money for the clients and reduce legal liability for the restaurants that serve alcohol. When considering whether to hold an event at a restaurant, determine whether the restaurant participates in a nonprofit designated driver program.

Membership Organizations

Most designated driver services are available to anyone, but some services are only available to certain individuals. Universities, employers, or member organizations can provide these services to their students, employees, or members. Providing these benefits helps to reduce the incidence of injuries and provides a safer environment for the public.

These organizations are not perfect. Designated driver organizations are limited by geography; the services are usually restricted to service within a particular city or county. Solo drinkers should have a list of service providers in the area in which they will be located in case one service is unavailable or if the client lives outside the service area. Staying informed of local services is a worthwhile effort for social drinkers, as these services can save the clients thousands in legal fees.

Chris Bennett is an DUI prevention advocate and freelance writer for The Law Offices of Robert David Malove. The legal and monetary consequences for driving drunk have become extremely severe, so it is imperative to consult with experienced counsel. If you are looking for a Fort Lauderdale DUI lawyer, The Law Offices of Robert David Malove are dedicated to providing premier legal representation for all manner of DUI cases.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/v1ctor/6711234961/

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