September 17, 2018 | Articles
When a person is convicted of a DUI offense, they may have several options for how they will pay for their crime. Jail time, probation, and community service are common, but another option that may take some time off their overall sentence while also providing necessary education is a DUI victims panel. Here, we look at exactly what these panels are and how they help those guilty of these offenses learn from their mistakes.
At a DWI victim impact panel, victims of previous DUI offenses share their stories of pain, loss, and grief after being injured or losing a loved one due to DWI incidents. This gives panelists a way to talk through their feelings of loss and gain a sense of closure about what they’ve been through. It also provides an important public service, as it offers education to those who have made the choice to drive intoxicated and gives them a real-world look at what can happen when they make those choices.
There are several types of people who attend victim impact panels for many different reasons. The first and most common is that they are a previous DUI offender. These participants typically listen to and speak with people who have suffered because of a DWI offense and learn the impact that these choices can have on other human beings and families. This helps to put human faces to the statistics they may have learned previously about drunk driving injuries and fatalities. Rather than shaming the offenders, the intention is to offer perspective and encouragement not to repeat the same mistakes. The offender typically does not face the actual victims of their own crime, but rather people who have been previously injured or lost loved ones in another DUI offense.
The second biggest reason for people to attend these panels is to better understand the victims and their stories. This is often the case when police officers, judges and prosecutors, medical staff, and counselors attend these panels. They can hear real stories from real people and gain a deeper understanding of these incidents to provide better care for or partnership with the families of victims.
If you or a loved one have been injured or worse in a DWI incident, contact your local DUI victim law firm. These firms – such as AZ DUI Victim, of Arizona – can put you in touch with a victims panel in your area and allow you to share your stories with others so that these choices can be avoided in the future.