Originally Posted by Ztalker
Correct. But when you remove the 'knowingly' or 'wilfully' it becomes an accident, which it isn't. I don't know a solution for this though since, like you said, alcohol makes you...different.
I believe 'an accident' in the way you have outlined it still falls under criminal negligence. There is a penalty for that, and in more cases than just driving.
I only wish we'd prosecute more of the kind of incompetence that has catastrophic consequences, like regulators who cop an attitude and say that a law is 'unenforceable' to avoid having to do hassle work. If such irresponsibility isn't an example of criminal negligence, I don't know what is.
Originally Posted by Samuel Dravis
I imagine someone can knowingly and willfully get totally drunk. It's not that these drunk drivers can't evaluate the risks of driving because they're drunk; it's that they put themselves in the situation where such actions are even possible. Personally I find it very easy to prevent myself from drinking so much (or during some situations) such that I have absolutely no control over getting in a car and mowing down whoever's in my way.
That's another point: the degree of influence plays a role and ought to be a determining factor in the penalty severity.
@ subject: Where something is not in any way someone's fault and no real harm is/was done resulting from it, then I do think the letter of the law approach is hypocritical and overly severe in those cases.
IE: an acquaintance I have met is now going to prison for 6 months b/c some other piece of **** mowed down a mailbox and kept hold of the mail and decided to drop it at his apartment. Crime was for possession of mail. Does not matter that he had NO part in it whatsoever. Mandatory minimum. In this case he had nothing to do with the crime itself, had no intent and a clean record...his house being used to retain it was circumstantial.
I don't see what good reason there is to punish him anyway. It isn't like anyone was being harmed directly, or killed anyways and his involvement was practically none. The guy who did it should get punished, not also the guy whose apartment the a-hole hid it at. Indirectly someone lost some mail? That shouldn't matter and blaming a third party isn't going to fix the problem with the missing mail.
Now in the case where people are injured or in danger of death, even from gross negligence, that is a potentially and likely life altering or ending result. Or if the result is catastrophic and has significant adverse effects upon third parties. Then in that case I can totally understand a punishment for the irresponsibility.
There is some overlap, but in one case the third party's involvement hurt, killed, or detrimentally cost someone else significantly. In the other it looks largely like blame game and the system just making money and turning someone to hapless chattel.
Laws that ruin innocent people regardless of circumstance need to be changed; laws that hold people accountable
for negligent/irresponsible actions, whether sober or not, having detrimental consequences, are right on.