People who abuse alcohol are more likely to abuse other drugs as well. “Drug abuse includes the use of illegal drugs—such as marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine, heroin, or other “street drugs”—and the abuse of legal prescription and nonprescription drugs”(Alcohol). When an individual is under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, there mind is in an altered state. Because of this, operation of an automobile can be very dangerous to anyone around. The abuser is also more likely to be involved in a violent dispute or have medical complications when under the influence.
Because of these issues, it is very important that there be laws against alcohol and drug abuse. It is also very important to have consequences for breaking those laws. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration developed a method of determining if the operator of a motor vehicle is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The test they developed is known as the Standardized field Sobriety Test. “The Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) is a battery of three tests administered and evaluated in a standardized manner to obtain validated indicators of impairment and establish probable cause for arrest” (Standardized).
The test includes the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus which consists of the individual looking side to side while the officer observes the jerks of the eye. There is also a walk and turn exercise and a stand on one leg exercise. When this test is conducted properly, it can determine within 91% accuracy if the individual is under the influence. As we all know, drug and alcohol abuse has become a big problem among all social classes. When alcohol and drug abuse occurs among celebrities, it is publicized on the cover of every gossip magazine and talk station.
These individuals are not doing anything different than your average everyday American, but their lives are made public so that everyone can criticize and talk about them. An example of a celebrity who has had their personal life publicized is Lindsay Lohan. I watched a television show yesterday about her legal troubles. Lindsay Lohan, who has been in various movies and commercials since she was a toddler, has had a long battle with alcohol and drug abuse. In 2005, she was charged with misdemeanor DUI and released from jail the same day.
She has attempted a variety of rehab facilities including six weeks at Promises Rehab. Lohan was stopped and charged again in July of 2005 for DUI. This time she was arrested and searched. Law enforcement found a small amount of Cocaine in her possession; therefore she was also booked for narcotics charges and also driving with a suspended license. She was released from jail after posting a 25,000 bail. After this arrest, she attempted yet another rehab facility. When she returned for court, she pled guilty to 2 DUI charges. As a part of a plea deal, she was released from the other charges.
She was sentenced to 1 day in jail, 10 days of community service, and 36 months probation. She was also ordered to complete a drug facility center. In November, she reported to serve her day in jail and was released after 84 minutes due to overcrowding. Lohans bail was revoked in 2010 because she failed to show for a probation hearing. A warrant was also issued for her arrest, but then revoked when she posed her bond. Two days later, she returned to court and it was determined that she violated her bond by missing several alcohol education classes.
She was sentenced to 90 days in jail of which she served 14 days, and 90 days of lockdown rehab of which she served about three weeks. (The E! Hollywood Story). Although it was portrayed as if Lohan was given a reduced sentence time because she is a celebrity, but in my opinion, she was not. When everything someone does is publicized, as it is with celebrities, it is easy for us to say they were given a reduced sentence, but in actuality, many people convicted of crimes are given reduced sentences or none at all.
I do believe that if you have more money to pay fines, then you are more likely to not serve time, but you do not have to be a celebrity to pay your way out of trouble. Many people charged with DUI never do any time because they are able to pay fines or hire a lawyer to prove them innocent when they are not. I have a friend who was pulled for suspected DUI. She was given a field sobriety test of which she failed. She was then given a breathalyzer and it was determined to be three times the legal limit. She was arrested for DUI, and then released the next day.
She was able to hire a lawyer to review all the paperwork and videos the officer had turned in. It was clear she was guilty, but the officer did not do everything just right, so her case was dismissed. This shows that our justice system is flawed. When there are no consequences for your actions, you continue to do those things that could harm others. I believe that sentencing for substance abuse should be a federal law. There are too many innocent individuals who are killed because someone is a substance abuser. I also believe that community service should not be a part of sentencing and programs such as PTI should not be available.
I believe that driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol puts others at an increased risk of bodily harm and should be a crime that carries a jail time sentence. If believe that if you choose to drink and drive, then you choose to do the time!
REFERENCES Alcohol and Drug Problems. Jan Nisel. October 27, 2010http://www. peacehealth. org/KBASE/topic/symptom/alcpb/overview. htm Substance Abuse Counseling: Theory and Practice by Patricia Stevens and Robert L. Smith Page 4 Standardized Field Sobriety Testing http://www. nhtsa. gov/people/injury/alcohol/SFST/appendix_a. htm The E! Hollywood Story: aired October 2010