MADD’s Court Monitoring Shows Low Rates of Conviction on Original Charges

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is releasing a new report ahead of the busy Labor Day weekend that shows an alarming trend of pleading down drunk driving charges and low conviction rates in some jurisdictions monitored across the country.

“With traffic deaths expected to rise again this year, it’s more important than ever to support law enforcement during the federal Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over crackdown leading up to, and during, the busy Labor Day weekend,” said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church.

The Court Monitoring Program is part of MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving®, launched in 2006, to support law enforcement efforts to protect the public from the 100 percent preventable crime of drunk driving.

As part of MADD’s Court Monitoring Program, MADD volunteers attend judicial proceedings involving drunk driving cases to ensure laws are being enforced and prosecuted to the fullest extent. Volunteers document every step of the judicial process and enter the disposition, age, gender, outcome and other information about each case. Court monitoring is active in 13 states across the country, with plans to expand to other states as volunteers and funding become available. States with court monitoring are:

  • Arizona
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Louisiana
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia

MADD’s first-ever Court Monitoring Report reveals observations in 11 states that have collected data for at least one year in at least one jurisdiction. The results are from a diverse cross-section of jurisdictions across the country. Further information is needed to produce complete statewide and nationwide results.

“This initial data collection shows the disparities among jurisdictions in how drunk driving cases are treated — and what we can learn by expanding the program,” said Sheehey-Church. “This is another way MADD can support victims and our law enforcement heroes by making sure drunk driving offenders are held accountable for their actions.”

Among the report findings are conviction rates in states with jurisdictions monitored, disposition of cases, sanctions imposed, and…

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