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Special Report on Women and Drunk Driving Says Arrests Have Increased

A series of articles and videos in the Quincy Patriot-Ledger about a rise in the number of women being convicted of drunk driving caught my eye recently. The videos describe the struggles of two women to put their lives back together after their drunk driving arrests. As a Massachusetts drunk driving criminal defense attorney, it’s my view that these women’s stories demonstrate how important it is for all drivers to use good judgment before getting behind the wheel — and also, how important it is to make sure that you have expert legal counsel if you get into trouble. It’s hard enough to handle the psychological and physical consequences of alcohol abuse without adding legal troubles to the mix.

It’s not clear why, but the Patriot-Ledger reported that as nationwide drunk driving arrests for men fell over 8 percent from 1999 to 2009, they shot up by nearly 42 percent for women. In Massachusetts, over 30 percent more women were arrested for OUI in 2009 than in 1999. Sarah Allen Benton, a mental health counselor, suggests that it may have to do with police having decided not to go easy on women drivers. In the past, police may have felt more sympathetic toward and protective of women drivers, she suggests — but not anymore.Two women profiled in the Quincy Patriot-Ledger’s articles and videos said that their OUI arrests forced them to get help for their alcohol problems and get their lives together.

One in 12 American adults abuses alcohol or is alcohol-dependent, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol problems can develop over the course of decades, starting in adolescence, before anything serious enough to involve legal consequences happens. By that point, a chronic alcoholic may need serious medical and psychological treatment to manage the damage that has been done. Unfortunately, the legal penalties for drunk driving don’t necessarily mandate such treatment, even though it would go a long way toward making sure that such dangerous behavior doesn’t happen again. For a first-offense OUI, the alternative “24D” disposition sentence includes an alcohol education program. But otherwise, the offenders are on their own to solve any problems they have with alcohol.

Anyone charged with OUI should immediately contact a Massachusetts OUI defense attorney to help them maintain all their personal and legal options. If you have been charged with OUI, with the help of a Massachusetts intoxicated driving defense lawyer, your case is much more likely to win a dismissal of charges or a not-guilty verdict. Then, if you are dealing with the psychological and physical effects of alcohol dependence, you can get help for it without also losing your freedom, your job, and your driver’s license.

If you have been charged with OUI in Boston or eastern Massachusetts, please contact the Law Offices of Stephen Neyman right away for a free consultation. You can call (617) 263-6800 or contact us online.

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